The government has refused to introduce gangmaster licensing or create a dedicated construction minister in its response to the Rita Donaghy report on industry deaths this week

The government said it was supporting 23 of its 28 recommendations, but many of the most significant ones were side-stepped. On gangmaster licensing, the government said “robust protections” for workers were in place, and that it had already launched a programme to ensure vulnerable workers were protected. It said the construction minister brief was better off alongside a broader portfolio, as it is now, so did not endorse a dedicated minister.

Tony O’Brien, national secretary of the Construction Safety Campaign, said: “This is outrageous. [Donaghy] was specifically brought in and on the eve of the election they decide not to carry it out. I’m in shock.”

The government has yet to decide whether to impose further health and safety duties on directors. It said it supported the introduction of common minimum standards for public projects; mutual recognition between prequalification schemes; and greater worker participation.

Donaghy welcomed the response, but said she continued to stand by all her findings.