Commenting on reports today that the Prime Minister is to rip up a range of employment rights and force through the Beecroft report, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna MP said:
“The Prime Minister and his Tory led Government have run out of excuses for tipping this country into a double dip recession, so now they are seeking to dump the blame on others for the mess they have created. Having sought to blame British businesses for the lack of growth with Ministers telling firms to stop ‘whinging’ and to ‘work harder’, now this out of touch government wants to blame their hard working employees for holding back growth with the rights they enjoy in the work place, despite the fact that the UK has one of the most flexible labour markets in the Western world.
“Our economy is not in recession with over 2.6 million people out of work because of the rights we all enjoy at work – we are in recession because of the economic incompetence of this Government which inherited an economy that was growing with unemployment falling and recovery settling in. Despite this, Cameron, Clegg, Cable and Osborne refuse to heed calls from business and others who say they have lost the plot and need to adopt a proper growth strategy. For example, instead of giving a tax break to thousands of millionaires, they could have adopted our proposal to give small businesses a national insurance break when taking on extra workers.
“There is already a growing clamour for some of the more extreme proposals to strip people of their rights at work tabled by the Tory led Government, like the proposal to allow compensated no fault dismissals, to be dropped. There is so far no sign that they will listen but we will keep up the fight against their extreme proposals.”
Commenting on the failure of the government to publish the Beecroft report on employment law, Labour’s Shadow Employment Relations Minister, Ian Murray MP said:
“In their letter to Labour’s shadow business team, No 10 have refused to publish the Beecroft blueprint to make it easier to fire people stating it would pose ‘a risk to the protection of the policy decision-making process’ but the Government has been openly briefing its contents to the media, showing the utter shambles and incompetence that continues to reign across Whitehall.”
Notes to editors
1. Attached is No 10 Downing Street’s response to Shadow Employment Relations Minister Ian Murray’s Freedom of Information Request for a copy of the report prepared by Adrian Beecroft for the Prime Minister (the addressee, Paul McKay, is Parliamentary Reseacher to Ian Murray).
2. According to the OECD, the UK has the third least regulated labour market in the world; only in the USA and Canada is employment regulation less strict: <http://www.oecd.org/document/11/0,3746,en_2649_37457_42695243_1_1_1_37457,00.html>http://www.oecd.org/document/11/0,3746,en_2649_37457_42695243_1_1_1_37457,00.html
3. In the CIPD’s Summer 2011 Labour Market Outlook, far more employers cited access to finance (28%), and candidates lacking the right skills (50%) as obstacles to business growth than those citing employment regulation: <http://www.cipd.co.uk/hr-resources/survey-reports/labour-market-outlook-summer-2011.aspx>http://www.cipd.co.uk/hr-resources/survey-reports/labour-market-outlook-summer-2011.aspx
4. Former Bank of England MPC Member, David Blanchflower, 27 February 2012 – “There is zero credible empirical evidence supporting [the] contention that Britain’s economic problems would be fixed by slashing workers’ rights”: <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/david-blanchflower/david-blanchflower-slashing-employment-regulation-would-do-nothing-to-boost-growth-7441395.html> http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/david-blanchflower/david-blanchflower-slashing-employment-regulation-would-do-nothing-to-boost-growth-7441395.html