In any developed capitalist country, ensuring fluid legal structures for businesses are in place to maintain the economy and country’s productivity is absolutely critical. In a recession however, the role of the person who deals with these matters becomes particularly critical, perhaps more so than ever before.
With adjustments to employment law over the past few years, Great Britain has done relatively well in terms of productivity during the downturn, a fact which many people put down to employment law being less favourable to employees than in most of continental Europe.
Vince Cable, the employment minister, claims that over the past two years, the current government had shown a great deal of support towards removing any surplus bureaucratic red tape which had previously been burdening small businesses. Also noted was the bolstering of regulations as needed elsewhere in employment law.
Cable accused the previous government of seeking to sow the seeds of a ‘hire and fire’ culture, stating that they seemed to find the sacking of employees ‘an aphrodisiac’. He went on to say that formulating such systems was completely irrelevant in a country such as the UK where the labour market was so flexible, one of the reasons why over 1 million jobs in the private sector has been created over the past couple of years. Cable told listeners how the concentration on practical reforms around tribunals and the supporting of progressive businesses has gone towards improving the situation.
Adrian Beecroft, a venture capitalist, released a report which was commissioned by the UK Government suggesting the idea that companies should be allowed to fire employees with a compensation pay-out in exchange for him or her being unable to bring the company to court in an employment tribunal. This the idea was to be called the ‘no-fault dismissal’ and the crux of the idea was to allow employers to see off unwanted employees without having fears hanging over them of disgruntled ex-members of staff taking them to tribunal as a result. It is often the procedure involved in warnings and dismissals which is seen by employers as a huge burden and then comes the uncertainty, delay and costs of defending a Tribunal claim.
Vince cable also voiced his concerns over the fact that the country was currently in what he described as a ‘dangerous phase’ of the recession due to a combination of spending of consumers being squeezed by the drop in real incomes and exports and debts to the European Union being hit by the Eurozone crisis.
Finally, Cable stated that he was not going to make any apologies for his ongoing support for the fiscal discipline in the UK. He believes that there is a need for command stimulus as the country battles its way through the economic downturn. Cable believes that a significant step forward on the part of the UK government is its ongoing commitment to build more houses, thus bolstering the construction industry.