Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Clash over 'easier sacking' report

Ed Miliband criticised the Prime Minister over a report, which recommends making it easier for businesses to sack workers

David Cameron and Ed Miliband have clashed in the House of Commons over the controversial report commissioned by the Prime Minister which called for changes in the law to make it easier for businesses to sack staff.

Labour leader Mr Miliband said that enthusiastic support of Tory backbenchers for Adrian Beecroft's proposal for "no-fault dismissal" - dismissed by Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable as "nonsense" - showed that "the nasty party is back".

But the Prime Minister said the Government would pick and choose from Beecroft's recommendations, and had already ruled out the no-fault dismissal plan for companies with more than 10 employees.

Venture capitalist Mr Beecroft accused Mr Cable of being a socialist who "appears to do very little to support business".

Describing the Business Secretary's loudly-expressed objections to his plan as "ideological not economic", Mr Beecroft told the Daily Telegraph: "I think people find it very odd that he's in charge of business and yet appears to do very little to support business."

Mr Beecroft also attacked Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg for "always threatening to go nuclear" when he does not get his way and said Lib Dems were holding back Government efforts to help business.

He said senior Conservatives were initially behind his radical plans to reform employment law, and warned that the UK economy would grow by 5% less than expected - about £50 billion - if the Government fails to act.

The document was submitted last October, but kept under wraps amid friction between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat sides of the coalition Government, which burst into the open this week.

At Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, Mr Cameron defended it as a "good report" but made clear he was under no obligation to accept all its recommendations.

"The Beecroft report, which I commissioned, had a number of excellent ideas that we are taking forward," said the Prime Minister.

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