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Govt finally releases Beecroft report

The Government has published a controversial report into labour market deregulation by venture capitalist and Conservative party donor Adrian Beecroft in order to “dispel some of the myths” that have grown around it.

The Government has been under pressure to publish the report after the Daily Telegraph published a version on its website. Critics have attacked the report, claiming it pushed a radical free-market agenda and removed workers’ rights.

During an emergency ministerial statement on the report in the House of Commons yesterday, business and enterprise minister Mark Prisk said the Telegraph’s version was an early draft and announced the final report would be released.

A recommendation in the leaked version to delay auto-enrolment until the economy recovers was dropped, though calls to exempt firms with fewer than five staff remain. It suggests companies with between five and 10 staff should be given the right to opt out, the earlier draft said firms of between five and nine should have this right. Under Government plans for auto-enrolment all firms will be required to enrol staff into pension schemes, unless the employee chooses to opt-out.

The new version also calls on the Government to resist implementation of a part of the EU’s Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision directive proposal which changes the definition of a funding gap for defined benefit pension schemes. It says the new rules would mean funding gaps have to be closed more quickly than at the moment, warning this could lead to firms closing DB schemes to new employees.

Business Secretary Vince Cable says: “We are today publishing Mr Beecroft’s final report as submitted to our department to dispel some of the myths that have become associated with the report. Because of ongoing interest we reached a view that it is in the public interest to allow people to have access to its content.”

Yesterday, it was reported the Government would not support the report’s recommendation for firms to have the right to make “no-fault” dismissals. Cable said it would leave employees under the “dead hand of fear” and had hardly been raised with him by companies as a barrier to growth.

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