Yesterday saw the third CBI-TUC annual footy match; the pro-business lobby beat the anti-business lobby 4-3 to win the cup pictured above. There must be a metaphor there somewhere, especially given that Guido hears that things were quite heated with penalties awarded against both sides. The row has continued off of the pitch today in the wake of the brave suggestions, leaked to the Telegraph, from Adrian Beecroft. The venture capitalist advising the government has finally put the employment “rights” stranglehold on growth to the top of the policy agenda:
“The rules both make it difficult to prove that someone deserves to be dismissed, and demand a process for doing so which is so lengthy and complex that it is hard to implement… This makes it too easy for employees to claim they have been unfairly treated and to gain significant compensation.”
These employment rules are far more complicated than the offside rule and prevent British businesses from competing on a level playing field with international competitors. Interviewed on Sky News, Mark Littlewood of the IEA called the rules “a real burden and a real fear” in the business world, and it’s true that there are now untouchable elements within all sectors, but the public-sector in particular. It’s nearly impossible to sack a useless teacher…
There are five million small businesses in the UK. If just half of them can be persuaded to take on one more member of staff then this country would not be facing an unemployment crisis. If businesses could hire and fire flexibly they would be less reluctant to take the risk of hiring new staff. There is some suspicion that this report has been trailed today in an effort to move on the debate from Europe with something that appeals to right-wingers, but if anything it is yet again reminding Tory backbenchers of the disproportionate power the LibDems have in government. Before a proper debate has even begun, Norman Lamb, the voice of Nick Clegg, has already come out to say that it’s “madness” and they will block such a move. Sound familiar..?