The Beecroft Report was the focus of this press briefing.
Asked whether the Government will be publishing the report today, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) confirmed this is the case. Asked how it will be published, the PMS referred journalists to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
Asked if this report has more status than any other submission from any other party, the PMS said, as the Prime Minister has said, this is one of the many submissions we’ve had and that has been gathered by government as part of the Red Tape Challenge and also the employment law review. And as the Prime Minister also said this weekend, he’s not wedded to one set of proposals or the other. But we need to balance an environment when you can improve competitiveness, ensure enterprise has opportunity to thrive while also protecting employment law.
Asked how many other submissions have been compiled with civil service support, the PMS said we don’t know the details but it is not unusual for officials in departments to discuss policy work with people who have good ideas and want to share ideas about developing policy. Asked whether it was Beecroft’s idea or whether the request came from government, the PMS confirmed he was asked as part of the Red Tape Challenge and also the employment law review. Asked who commissioned it, the PMS said she could not confirm who physically commissioned it, but said it was commissioned by the Government.
Asked why a millionaire Tory party donor was asked to do this, the PMS said this is a question for BIS, but clearly Beecroft has made a contribution to developing ideas on reform to employment law. At the moment there is a call for evidence on the particular aspect of no-fault dismissal and that’s ongoing and that doesn’t close until 8 June.
Asked was there any help given by officials to other submissions, the PMS said to look at what Mark Prisk said on the floor of House today. Some of the proposals in the Beecroft Report are being taken and the ideas he has contributed have been put into the pool of ideas which have been submitted to the Government. Asked for a list of the 17 of the 23 points which the Government is taking action on, the PMS referred journalists to BIS.
Asked why the Business Secretary was unable to make the Urgent Question and was it because he was in the North East on a visit, the PMS said she did not know what his programme today was; but clearly Mark Prisk is answering on behalf of BIS.
Asked whether Beecroft was paid, the PMS referred journalists to BIS. Asked if there was a cost in civil service time, the PMS again referred journalists to BIS.