Vote for us – and we’ll cut red tape

It’s
election time and, guess what, all the main political parties have come over
all employer-friendly. The Government is going to cut red tape, according to
its manifesto.

Don’t
laugh – they are promising to look at the possibility of introducing sunset
clauses on legislation, allowing regulations to fall off the statute book once
they cease being useful. And they promise to use secondary legislation to cut
back on regulations.

Employers
would be feeling a lot more reassured by this if Labour’s track record on
consultation over regulations was better and if the legislation introduced in
their first term had been well drafted and simple to implement. They will also
be wondering how a Labour Government will cut red tape while the party is
committed to introducing new regulations on ageism, staff consultation and
parents at work.

The
Tories and Liberal Democrats are also promising to cut red tape and to put a
stop to unnecessary EU directives. The Tories are ploughing a distinctive path
by dismissing work-life balance practices as politically correct claptrap.

And
all the parties are going to boost spending on educating the UK’s notoriously
unskilled workforce, although only the LibDems have any explanation of where
they will get the money from. The Tories’ spending plans would be a bit more
believable if they actually put some costs to them.

It
is reassuring that all the parties have got the message that employers have had
enough of red tape, However, HR professionals will make up their own minds as
to how credible their commitment to deregulation really is. Don’t bother
reading the manifestos for a clue to the answer – it’s too vague to draw any
conclusions.

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