UK Politics

Blair's ex-adviser to lead employment practices review

Matthew Taylor, RSA chief executive
Image caption Matthew Taylor, former head of the Labour Policy Unit and RSA chief executive, will lead the review

Prime Minister Theresa May has asked Tony Blair's former policy chief to review employment practices.

Matthew Taylor, former head of the Labour Policy Unit, will look at job security, pay and workers' rights.

In the Daily Telegraph, Chancellor Philip Hammond defended plans to put workers on boards and impose greater pay restraint for senior executives.

The measures were "something that responsible businesses will recognise can be positive for them", he said.

He warned that big businesses were "angering their consumers" over excessive pay for bosses and poor workers' rights.

'Keeping pace'

Speaking ahead of the Conservative Party conference on Sunday, Mrs May said: "The UK has one of the strongest labour markets in the world - with record numbers of people in work and an unemployment rate almost half the EU average.

"That's a proud record, but if we are to build a country that works for everyone - not just the privileged few - we need to be certain that employment regulation and practices are keeping pace with the changing world of work."

Mr Taylor has been tasked with looking at whether regulations need to change in order to keep pace with what Downing Street says is a growing number of people registered as self employed, on zero hours contracts or in temporary work.

The review will look at security, pay and rights and it will also examine whether there are ways to increase opportunities for carers, people with disabilities and the elderly.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Theresa May said employment practices needed to "keep pace" with the "changing world of work"

Mr Taylor, chief executive of the RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), said it was "very encouraging" that he had been asked to chair the independent review.

"New forms of employment have many advantages for workers and consumers but there are challenges and risks," he said.

"We need to approach this issue with an open mind, recognising that within our flexible system of employment the same type of contract can have a diverse range of impacts on the people who use them.

"That the prime minister has chosen to prioritise the interests of the growing army of people working in new ways sends an important message."

He said the review team will travel across the UK to hear how people's experience of work affects their daily lives.

Seamus Nevin, head of employment and skills policy at the Institute of Directors, said: "It is important that the government works to ensure our employment regulations and definitions are flexible so that we protect workers and give them access to training and development, while still enabling innovation and enterprise to prosper."

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