Sunday 20 May 2012 11:52 pm

Firms urge PM to adopt pro-jobs red tape cuts

Slashing red tape will boost jobs and encourage an economic recovery, business groups and backbench Conservative MPs said yesterday, welcoming the impending publication of the Beecroft report which is expected to set out the case for cutting damaging labour market regulations. The report, commissioned by Number 10 and set to be published this week, is likely to call for measures including a shorter mandatory consultation period when job losses are being considered and a shift in the burden of checking foreign workers’ job status from firms to the Home Office. “Less red tape means more jobs – Beecroft’s recommendations are encouraging, and the government should back him strongly,” said the Institute of Directors. “We need to remember that excessive labour market regulation discriminates against people seeking to enter the workforce.” “There are a million young unemployed people who are losing out because employment law protects existing employees at their expense.” Mark Field, MP for the Cities of London and Westminster agreed, arguing “if the government is serious about growth, significant jobs market reform has to be one of the most important elements of its economic strategy.” “There was a perception that elements of the Liberal Democrats were reluctant to go ahead with the Beecroft reforms, but that opposition is fading as they recognise the urgent need for a real focus on economic growth,” he told City A.M. However, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills stressed that although growth is one priority, it is also important that changes “do not weaken the employment rights of workers up and down the country”. A source close to business secretary Vince Cable went further, arguing the UK already has very flexible labour laws, and hitting out at the commissioning of the report in the first place. “It is surprising that No10 backs a report compiled by one of the Tory party’s biggest donors,” the source said. “It is not an official, evidence-based government report but is the personal views of one individual.”