Statement by Vince Cable on the Beecroft report on employment law.
21 May 2012
Responding to the publication of the Beecroft report, (PDF, 184 Kb) Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
“We are today publishing Mr Beecroft’s final report as submitted to our department to dispel some of the myths that have become associated with the report.
“Because of ongoing interest we reached a view that it is in the public interest to allow people to have access to its content.
“We have always been clear that sensible and well thought-through reforms need a strong evidence base behind them, not just anecdotal experiences.
“The UK already has one of the most flexible labour markets in the world, as evidenced by the deal struck by the Vauxhall workforce in Ellesmere Port last week.
“At a time when workers are proving to be flexible in difficult economic conditions it would almost certainly be counterproductive to increase fear of dismissal.
“The government also has a duty to ensure the labour market provides economic and employment opportunities and has therefore set out a parliament-long review of employment law.
“As part of that review we have issued a call for evidence on no-fault dismissal for micro firms of fewer than 10 employees. I shall be examining the evidence when this is submitted to me after 8 June.
“Mr Beecroft came and spoke to officials in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills last year whilst compiling his report. Consequently, the vast majority of proposals in Mr Beecroft’s final report reflect ongoing work by the department.
“In response to widespread concerns from small businesses we are simplifying employment tribunals with further measures in the planned Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. And across government we have announced a number of measures for CRB [Criminal Records Bureau] checks, work permits and pensions auto-enrolment to help ease the burdens on business.
“This has all happened independently from Mr Beecroft’s recommendations and were part of the government’s existing programme of reform and agenda for growth.
“One of Mr Beecroft’s recommendations was a suggestion to bring in no-fault dismissal. In my daily conversations with businesses, this has very rarely been raised with me as a barrier to growth.
“Businesses are much more concerned about access to finance or weak demand than they are about this issue.”