Taylor review: How Uber, Deliveroo, business groups, law experts and more reacted to the "gig economy" review into employment

 
Lynsey Barber
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The reaction to the Taylor review has been mixed (Source: Getty)

The government's wide-ranging review of modern employment has finally been published in a whopping 115 page report (TL:DR here are the six major points you need to know).

How's that gone down with people? Here's what Uber, Deliveroo, business groups like the CBI, and employment lawyers had to say (everyone generally welcomed the spirit of the review and its overarching goals, but here's what they said beyond that):

Uber: We welcome greater clarity

"We welcome this report which looks at the rise in self-employment and new ways of working which predate apps like Uber. Indeed almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades before our app existed.

“The main reason why people say they sign up to drive with Uber is so they can be their own boss. With our app drivers are totally free to choose if, when and where they drive with no shifts or minimum hours. We would welcome greater clarity in the law over different types of employment status.

“Drivers using Uber made average fares of £15 per hour last year after our service fee and, even after costs, the average driver took home well over the National Living Wage. We know drivers want more security too which is why we’re already investing in discounted illness and injury cover, and will be introducing further improvements soon.”

Deliveroo: we'll work with government

"Matthew Taylor’s report rightly highlights both the benefits and popularity of flexible work in the on-demand economy.

"Employment law is outdated and this is a great opportunity to make it fit for the 21st century. The government needs to ensure any new measures are pro growth so companies can continue to expand and create well paid opportunities for people in the UK. The government should be under no illusions that any moves to restrict flexibility could undermine the very thing that attracts people to work in this sector.

"As we have made clear, we want to continue offering riders the flexible work they want while also providing benefits. We would welcome the opportunity to work with the government so we can end this trade off between flexibility and security."

Corbyn: A missed opportunity

“The Taylor Report was a huge missed opportunity to tackle the growing problem of insecure employment.

"In Labour’s manifesto ‘For The Many Not The Few’ we set out a 20 point plan to transform the workplace and protect and improve workers’ rights. By abolishing Employment Tribunal fees, scrapping zero hour contracts and giving rights to all workers from day one, we would halt and reverse the spread of exploitation in the gig economy."

- Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Changing regulation is "no silver bullet"

"Changing regulation is not the silver bullet that will fix the problems with the world of work. Businesses need to take greater responsibility for the quality of work, opportunities for progression, and fair treatment of all their workers.

"The recommendation for a new higher National Minimum Wage rate for non-guaranteed hours should be treated with caution. There is a risk that any changes do not result in a reduction of jobs or opportunities for the people that need it as employers react to concerns of the growing cost of labour. We also have reservations about the practicality of the proposal to introduce minimum piece work rates.

“While we welcome the proposals for a stronger test of supervisory relationships in order to ensure workers get the benefits they are entitled to, we need to ensure that the framework for enforcing this is practical, otherwise we risk discouraging employers from providing flexible roles and opportunities that many people benefit from.”

- CIPD chief executive Paul Cheese

A "missed opportunity" on pensions

"There’s no two ways about it, this was a big missed opportunity. There’s nothing meaningful in the Review about pensions. It makes no sense to not extend the pensions provision enjoyed by the majority of workers to those in the gig economy."

Aberdeen Asset Management head of retirement Gregg McClymont

A struggle to reach the statute book

"It will be interesting to see whether the government acts on the Report’s recommendation to ensure that dependent contractors are also seen to be employed for tax purposes, which could have a significant impact on the take home pay of those working in the gig economy. The Review is being presented as one of the government’s key initiatives at the moment but given the current political climate these proposals may still struggle to make it into the statute book.”

- Employment partner at Bircham Dyson Bell, Nicholas Le Riche

Government must consult with business

"While the notion of a wage premium in exchange for uncertain working hours is superficially attractive, it could have unforeseen consequences, and push wage costs up elsewhere. Further expert consideration of the potential impact of such a measure on jobs will be needed.

“If the new category of 'dependent contractors' proposed by the review is implemented, it must have a clear legal definition to prevent any ambiguity or unintended knock-on effects.

"The government should consult widely with business and employees over the coming months to ensure any response to the Taylor Review is proportionate, fair and above all unbureaucratic.”

- British Chamber of Commerce director general Adam Marshall

"Significant concern for business"

"A number of proposals in the report will be of significant concern to businesses, however. Changes to the application of the minimum wage, rewriting employment status tests and altering agency worker rules could have unintended consequences that are negative for individuals, as well as affecting firms’ ability to create new jobs.

“The government will need to consider these aspects extremely carefully, alongside proposals for any future tax changes, to ensure our labour market retains the flexibility and entrepreneurship that has made it the mainstay of the UK economy.”

- CBI managing director for people and infrastructure Neil Carberry

"Significant work" needed to make it reality

"While this report has been welcomed, significant work will be required to introduce the amendments to the current legislation. With the government’s plate full with the likes of Brexit negotiations to see how this review is taken forward and recommendations are progressed."

- Employment partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, Paul Griffin

​Doesn't go far enough

“Given the epidemic of precarious work in the UK, this report simply does not go far enough in fixing a broken system that gives employers the choice of whether to treat their workers fairly or not.

“Action on the Gig Economy is overdue, but help for agency workers, those on zero hours or short hours contracts won't happen by asking nicely or hoping bad employers find a moral compass down the back of the couch. We need regulations and proper enforcement - until we get that, we will all continue to pay for shareholder profits though lost tax revenue and the knock on effect poor work has for public services and our communities.

“The Prime Minister could have agreed to implement the findings of the Taylor Review as a starting point today, but she didn't even go that far. Words on decent work are always welcome, but they're meaningless without determined action to back them up and challenge those who profit from insecurity."

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