Beecroft report published early
The full Beecroft report on employment law reform has been published by the Government, after it was leaked to the press.
Answering an urgent question on the report in the place of Vince Cable, business minister Mark Prisk said a copy of the plans that had been leaked to the Daily Telegraph was from "an earlier draft of the report". The full report was released by the Business department this afternoon.
Mr Cable said this evening the report was being released to "dispel myths" about its contents.
He also vowed to fight Conservative attempts to implement a recommendation for the introduction of 'no fault dismissal'.
"In my daily conversations with businesses, this has very rarely been raised with me as a barrier to growth," he said.
“Businesses are much more concerned about access to finance or weak demand than they are about this issue.
"At a time when workers are proving to be flexible in difficult economic conditions it would almost certainly be counterproductive to increase fear of dismissal."
Writing in the Sun today, Dr Cable said it is "complete nonsense" to imagine that stripping labour rights would boost hiring, adding: “I am opposed to the ideological zealots who want firms to fire at will.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband said he was "very concerned" about the proposals for no fault dismissal.
"We need a plan to get people hired not get people to be fired," he told ITV News.
"One of the problems about the British economy, I believe, is there isn’t enough commitment between employers and employees and the Beecroft proposals are putting them in the opposite direction."
An ally of Mr Cable, former Liberal Democrat House of Lords Treasury spokesman Lord Oakeshott told the World at One that the proposals in the Beecroft report for no-fault dismissals would not go through into legislation. He said: "All Liberal Democrats are against a sack-on-the-spot mentality and it just won't happen."
He called the proposal "bonkers" and said that leaving people frightened about their job security was the "economics of the madhouse".
The question in the Commons had been tabled by Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna, who argued that "watering down people's rights at work is no substitute for a proper growth strategy." He added that the current economic crisis was nothing to do with employment law, and argued that altering the law would have "a huge negative impact on consumer confidence. They've run out of excuses for getting this country into a double-dip recession."
Liberal Democrat MPs John Hemming, Jo Swinson and Duncan Hames also asked the Minister for assurances that certain groups of workers would be protected under the reforms.