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Good Work Plan and Labour Market Enforcement

Volume 651: debated on Monday 17 December 2018

Last year Matthew Taylor (Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts) published the review of modern working practices, following a commission from the Prime Minister. In February the Government responded to the review, accepting the vast majority of the recommendations. The Government also launched four consultations alongside the response, seeking views on the approach to implementing the review. We received over 400 detailed consultation responses which have been invaluable in informing our policy development.

The industrial strategy set out a long-term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK. Developing better jobs for everyone in the British economy is at the centre of the industrial strategy. Today the Government are publishing the Good Work Plan, setting out a vision for the future of the UK labour market and how the Government will implement the Taylor review recommendations.

As the industrial strategy set out, the world of work is changing rapidly, becoming more flexible and more connected. Never has it been more important for us to ensure the UK labour market is successful, competitive and ready to embrace the changes that come with technological advancements and the emergence of new business models. An essential part of achieving this is striking the right balance between flexibility and ensuring workers have the rights and protections they need. We also need to ensure that good employers in the UK are rewarded for their efforts, rather than being under-cut by a minority of irresponsible employers seeking ways to circumvent the law.

Today, we have also taken the important first step in implementing the Good Work Plan, bringing forward new legislation to provide further rights to workers and ban unfair practices.

I am proud to be the first Secretary of State to take responsibility for quality work and I have written to the Chair of the independent Industrial Strategy Council to ask for their views on the measures Government could use to measure quality of work in the UK. The Good Work Plan commits to a range of policy and legislative changes to ensure that workers can access fair and decent work, that both employers and workers have the clarity they need to understand their employment relationships, and that the enforcement system is fair and fit for purpose. This includes a commitment to legislate to tackle uncertainty around employment status.

Alongside the Good Work Plan today the Government are also publishing their response to the first full strategy from the Director of Labour Market Enforcement. Sir David Metcalf’s strategy was published on 9 May 2018 and made 37 recommendations on labour market enforcement and raising awareness of employment rights. The Government response accept the majority of the recommendations and sets out the steps the Government will take forward on raising awareness of employment rights, improving intelligence gathering of abuses and strengthening enforcement efforts.

The Home Secretary and I look forward to working with Sir David as the Government seek to implement the recommendations we have accepted and as he prepares to set clear strategic priorities in the 2019-20 Labour Market Enforcement strategy.

Copies of the Good Work Plan and the Government’s response to the Director of Labour Market Enforcement’s strategy will be placed in the Libraries of the House and available electronically on the website.