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View from Westminster - May 31, 2012
3:00pm Wednesday 30th May 2012 in MP's View - Mark Garnier
THERE are a great many issues struggling to make the front pages of the national newspapers at the moment. One is the Beecroft Report on employment law reforms. This is a series of suggestions commissioned by Number 10, to look at whether our employment laws are fit for the current economic environment and competitive on the global stage.
There is no doubt about it; there is a need for protection of employees. The idea that we could possibly go back to some sort of Dickensian employment regime is terrifying and it is absolutely correct that all workers must have rights. But with all things to do with our society, the pendulum sometimes swings too far in one direction or another and so it is right that Adrian Beecroft has taken a look at the current situation.
At the heart of the issue is the question: how do we get more people employed? One of the answers is to make it easier for employers.
The fact is employers have seen a staggering 43,387 new regulations under the previous government – 14 for every day. This has cost businesses £77 billion since 1998 as small businesses spend seven hours, on average, a week just form filling.
For the economists amongst us, this is estimated to be a cost of 12 per cent of our GDP. Amongst all of this is a cost to businesses of employment tribunals. So for small or even micro business to take on staff, there is a genuine fear that hiring employees brings with it not just an increase in the regulatory burden, but it also increases the risk of litigation.
Businesses need government and bureaucracy to get off their backs. The single biggest challenge to a business is taking their product to market, winning customers and then delivering.
Anything that stands in the way of, or distracts from, that incredibly important focus for all businesses has to be detrimental to that business and therefore to the economy as a whole.
The Beecroft report is part of a raft of measures intended to encourage growth, investment and, crucially, employment.
Despite the widespread gloom, there is good news out there. A total of 634,000 new private sector jobs have been created since 2010. Whilst public sector jobs have been lost, the net increase is 264,000 jobs created since 2010.
The budget deficit has already been cut by a quarter and for the first time since the ‘70s, this country is a net exporter of cars.
But whilst that is encouraging, it is still vital that the government does everything it can to help businesses; to help get people back into work where they have lost their jobs; and get young people into their first jobs. That is why the rolling back of bureaucracy is vital to support growth, and the Beecroft report is part of that.
CONTACT YOUR MP
Email: mark.garnier.mp@ parliament.uk.
Telephone: 020 7219 7198 or 01562 746771.
Write: 9a Lower Mill Street, Kidderminster, DY11 6UU, or House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA.