Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Real Question Following Budget

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Real Question Following Budget

Article excerpt

Byline: Claire-Jane Nicol

THE Budget "red box" which George Osborne waved at the press in Downing Street recently was a new one - the traditional battered briefcase has been "retired" because experts say it is now too fragile for public performances.

To accompany the new briefcase, there were a number of new employment-related measures in the Budget which are intended to work alongside the Treasury's 'Plan for Growth' document. While some of these employment measures have already been announced either formally or in the press, there were others in the Budget that were unexpected. These included, for example, a commitment to review the liability of employers under the Equality Act 2010 for third-party harassment. The Government also announced that it hopes it's changes will create one of the most flexible workforces in Europe. Most employers would agree that this, coupled with the Government's commitment to creating the 'lowest burden from employment regulation in the EU', would certainly be a departure from the current position.

In fact, for the small business community (that is to say businesses with 10 or fewer employees, or genuine start-ups) there may well be some light at the end of the tunnel with the announcement of a threeyear exemption from the need to comply with new domestic regulations. How the introduction of this two-tier system will work in practice and how effective it will be, remains to be seen as the exemption only applies to domestic rules and much of the UK's employment legislation comes direct from the EU.

To support the Government's intention to reduce red tape, there will also be a general online review of in excess of 20,000 regulations. Dubbed the "Red Tape Challenge", the Government has launched a website this month which will group legislation into themes. Businesses will then be asked to tell the Government what they think of those regulations, and how they might improve the system. …

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