EEF’s chief executive, Terry Scuoler catalogues the benefits so far achieved by government’s Employment Law Review and says Europe should follow Britain’s lead.
In the last few weeks, we have seen announcements on the progress that government is making to reduce the cost of doing business in Britain. It appears the tide has begun to turn but, largely, businesses are yet to benefit and while progress here is good news, it throws the unremitting flow of new regulation from Europe into the sharp relief.
The latest update on government’s one-in-oneout approach shows that for the third successive six month period, there has been a net reduction in the burden of regulation coming from the UK.
Cumulatively, the cost of regulation has fallen by £3bn and the Employment Law Review continues to look at ways to make labour markets more flexible.
“The eurozone crisis is causing governments in countries like Italy and Spain to start reforming their labour markets, but the European Commission’s work programme still looks bulky” – Terry Scuoler, EEF Chief Executive
So far we have seen government focus on reforming Employment Tribunals and reviewing TUPE and Collective Redundancy rules. Going forward we have great hopes for the idea to legislate for protected conversations. These would allow employers to discuss issues such as performance or retirement informally, without the risk of this triggering discrimination claims.
Behind the scenes in Whitehall, a relatively unknown body – the Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) – is now doing good work in applying a traffic light system to government impact assessments on proposed changes in regulation. The RPC’s latest report shows that the rigour of these assessments is improving but that there is still a long way to go – only 31% of impact assessments in the latest period got a green light. We believe that the time is right to highlight this by allowing the RPC to publish all its final assessments.
But what about Europe? The eurozone crisis is causing governments in countries like Italy and Spain to start reforming their labour markets, but the European Commission’s work programme still looks bulky. Our approach to regulation may not be perfect but Brussels needs to learn from Britain.
Efforts there should focus on: reducing the total cost of regulation, improving the assessment of new regulation and increasing scrutiny of new proposals. It is up to our government to make the case for a new approach in Europe and EEF will be pressing hard for this.