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UK — Jobs must be the new coalition Government’s first priority

13 May 2010

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the representative body for the UK recruitment industry, has called on the new coalition Government between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to focus on job creation and on boosting the UK's flexible labour market following yesterday's disappointing unemployment figures.

Commenting on the latest figures and the implications for the new Government, Kevin Green, the REC's Chief Executive, said "the latest unemployment figures are one of the first indicators that the new government has on the state of the economy and the fragility of the jobs market. Reducing unemployment and creating jobs should be the central priority of this new administration. Our flexible jobs market has already ensured that unemployment has not reached the levels seen in other European countries and will play a major role in helping people back into work."

"Recent industry data has shown some improvement in employer confidence but there are real concerns that any upturn in job opportunities in the private sector could be counter-balanced by cuts in the public sector. Reducing the deficit is the other immediate priority but the government must focus on reforming public services rather than short term cuts. We need a well executed programme of productivity improvement and innovation in the delivery of critical public services."

The REC believes that three factors are key to creating jobs: economic growth, public sector reform and an improved regulatory environment. These areas are at the heart of the REC's Manifesto, launched earlier this year. Specific regulations that could threaten future job opportunities include the Agency Workers Regulations, new pensions rights which could jeopardise short term jobs and the operation of the Vetting and Barring Scheme. The REC will be writing to Ministers on these matters in due course.

Commenting on the regulatory landscape and the need to protect the flexibility of the UK labour market, Kevin Green concluded "the new Government must deliver the right economic climate for business to create the prosperity and jobs our country needs. There are a number of regulatory measures brought in by the last Government which threaten our flexible labour market. We call on the new Government to reconsider these urgently."

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