Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

At Least They Could Stop Making Job Losses Worse

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

At Least They Could Stop Making Job Losses Worse

Article excerpt

Byline: NEIL COLLINS

IF THERE is one thing that will turn today's recession into a full-blown depression, it's more rises in unemployment like last month's. As long as there is work, we can live with negative equity, more pasta and less meat, a colder home and an older car.

Joblessness, though, threatens catastrophe, breaking marriages and causing lasting damage to the social fabric.

Yesterday's figures show with brutal clarity how fast jobs are going, and there is no prospect of a let-up any time soon.

The projections of three million out of work by the end of the year now look too low, but in all sorts of ways Labour's policies are making things worse.

Any government can create non-jobs, and this one is a world leader. There is an epidemic of make-work employment in the public sector, as Digby Jones discovered during his brief life as a minister.

We need jobs where the employer can make more out of employing someone than it costs to keep him.

Our Dear Leader's response to the problem is to invent more government schemes to give him a handy soundbite.

Meanwhile, a cascade of new laws is bearing down on business, all of which will push employers into finding ways to do things with fewer people. Of course, since he has to do everything himself, from saving the world and recapitalising the banks to bringing peace to the Middle East, perhaps the PM has just forgotten, so here's a reminder: The cost of hiring temporary staff in banking, healthcare, education and insurance will rise when a "concession" is terminated in April.

VAT will then become payable on the whole amount paid to the temp, rather than just on the fees paid to the agency.

New rules giving employees the right to take time off for "public duties" come into force in the spring. Extended rights to "request" flexible working or time off for training follow in the summer.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that employees on long-term sick leave accrue paid holidays while away.

The deferred disaster of the latest pension reform grinds on. Last week the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority proudly announced "the launch of its procurement process for the personal accounts scheme administration services". …

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