Fears of a "compensation culture" must not be allowed to prevent schools organising field trips for pupils, a Midland Minister has pledged.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, who re-joined Tony Blair's Government last week, said it was essential to "get the balance right" between safety, and fear of being sued if something went wrong.
The former NHS executive has accepted a post in the Department for Work and Pensions after resigning from his role as a Government Health Minister in 2003, in protest at the Iraq war. He said he was pleased to be back as a Minister as he supported Labour's plans for reform of public services.
Lord Hunt's responsibilities will include healthand-safety issues, such as providing the right help to people injured at work and making workplace environment safer. But he also wanted to tackle the growing fear of legal action which made organisations wary of taking any sort of risk at all, he said.
"There is a debate to be had about the blame culture. For example, something I am very interested in, as I have children of my own, is school trips.
" Some teachers are refusing to go on school trips because they say they risk being prosecuted if something goes wrong. There is work to be done to ensure schools do still organise trips. We recognise that they are very important.
"They need to be done safely. But we need to get the balance right."
He said the fear of being sued was not always justified, but it was a problem in its own right.
"There is a perception out there that you can't do anything because of the safety risks. I don't think that is right. There is also a perception that people will sue over anything, but I don't think that is the reality."
The courts also took a more pragmatic view than many people realised, he said. "I know that the Government, as a whole, is working on the compensation culture, and we have to get a grip on it. It is a big issue and it is not easily solved."