Government must defend UK’s working time opt-out

The government’s first key test of its business credentials will be the vigour with which it opposes the EU Working Time Directive.

CBI president, John Sunderland, will make this demand today at the CBI annual dinner in London, attended by about 1,200 business leaders. He will share the platform with chancellor Gordon Brown, who will be making his first major speech since the general election.

He will challenge the chancellor, saying: “An individual’s right to work, when and how they choose, should be inalienable. We elect politicians to represent us, not to deny us choices.

“How on earth did we get to a position when my right to work, when and for how long I choose, could become illegal?”

Sunderland will also tell the new government that business must be free to fulfil its responsibility to create wealth for the country and help build a fairer world, without being held back by increasing tax and damaging regulation.

He will say business is the major source of wealth creation in our society. 

“We still provide most of the jobs, most of the taxes which fund our public services and all the profits which support our pension funds and savings,” said Sunderland. “It is therefore an essential responsibility of government to nurture business and the profits it generates.”

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