By Daniel Hunter
Ahead of the Queen’s speech on Wednesday, the Institute of Directors calls for the introduction of three Bills to boost business and the economy.
New survey data from IoD members reveals that the two biggest factors holding back businesses are the economy and government regulation. 65% of members say economic conditions are having a negative effect on their business, while 45% say the same for regulation.
While there are no quick fixes for our economic situation, there are three Bills which could be introduced in the next session of Parliament to address the problem of over-regulation and tackle the damaging effects of increasing trade union militancy:
· The ‘Midas’ Bill - Successive Governments have implemented EU directives over-zealously, resulting in greater burdens for business than necessary. Two prime examples are the Agency Workers Directive and the Working Time Directive. The Government should introduce a bill to strip back all of this ‘gold-plating’, and make it clear that in future only the minimum required by the directive will be brought into UK law.
· The ‘Beyond Beecroft’ Bill — De-regulating the employment market would set business free to grow. A Bill which introduced ‘compensated no-fault dismissal’ as suggested by Adrian Beecroft, a three-month notice period for employees who do not wish to return from maternity leave, and enshrined the Government’s One-In, Two-out regulatory principle in law would make businesses feel that the tide has turned on regulation.
· The ‘Too Big to Strike’ Bill — Through a series of mergers, the trade unions have become divorced from their original purpose, no longer representing workers from specific industries and able to cause disruption beyond the site of the original dispute. The Government should give powers to an organisation like the Competition Commission to investigate union mergers. Recent industrial action based on small turn-outs also makes the case for a change to the law, so that only strikes backed by the majority of a union’s members could take place.
“This is probably the Government’s last chance in this Parliament to announce new legislation to boost businesses and the economy. Nearly half of businesses think that regulation is holding them back. Ministers must seize this opportunity to tackle the issue head-on," Simon Walker, Director General of the IoD, said.
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