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The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has commented on the new coalition government's official work programme published yesterday. A number of the policy commitments have specific implications for the recruitment industry, including positive messages on employment regulation and business taxation.
The coalition programme includes commitments to cut red tape, review Intermediaries Legislation (IR 35), target inspections effectively, promote small business procurement and end the 'gold-plating' of European Union (EU) rules.
Specific policy announcements also cover areas such as the National Health Service (NHS), social care and the higher-end of the jobs market which will be of interest to recruiters operating in these sectors.
With regards to pensions' reform, one of the next major challenges facing the recruitment industry, there is a general commitment to 'work with business and the industry to support auto-enrolment'.
The policy steer on welfare reform is also of interest as funding will increasingly be aligned to achieving tangible outcomes in terms of getting people back into work. This is an area where the expertise and contact of recruiters can make a significant contribution.
Providing an initial assessment of what the coalition Government's programme means for the recruitment industry, Tom Hadley, the REC's Director of External Relations, said "we like the emphasis on cutting red tape and streamlining the regulatory environment. We can also tick off some of the other big calls in the REC pre-election Manifesto like the need to avoid a tax on jobs and to review current procurement procedures. Of course, the concern for many recruiters is the impact of public sector cuts on agency budgets, but we will continue to fight our corner on this and to promote the value of flexible staffing arrangements."
"Overall, the coalition programme provides a broad outline of what lies ahead, the next few months will be about joining up the dots and ensuring that our collective voice is at the forefront of these major debates."
Specific announcements in the coalition programme that will be of interest to recruiters include commitments to:
- Cut red tape by introducing a 'one-in, one-out' rule whereby no new regulation is brought in without other regulation being cut by a greater amount.
- End the culture of 'tick-box' regulation, and instead target inspections on high-risk organisations through co-regulation and improving professional standards.
- Review IR 35, as part of a wholesale review of all small business taxation, and seek to replace it with simpler measures that prevent tax avoidance but do not place undue administrative burdens or uncertainty on the self-employed, or restrict labour market flexibility.
- Review employment laws to ensure they maximise flexibility while protecting fairness and providing the competitive environment required for enterprise to thrive.
- Make it easier for people to set up new enterprises by cutting the time it takes to start a new business.
- Promote small business procurement, in particular by introducing an aspiration that 25% of government contracts should be awarded to small and medium-sized businesses and by publishing government tenders in full online and free of charge.
- End the so-called 'gold-plating' of EU rules, so that British businesses are not disadvantaged relative to their European competitors.