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Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices

Volume 645: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2018

3. What progress he has made on planned consultations on (a) employment status, (b) agency workers and (c) enforcement of employment rights as a result of the recommendations of the Taylor review of modern working practices. (906487)

15. What progress he has made on planned consultations on (a) employment status, (b) agency workers and (c) enforcement of employment rights as a result of the recommendations of the Taylor review of modern working practices. (906501)

In the Government’s response to the review, we committed to take forward recommendations to improve clarity on employment status, boost protections for agency workers and increase state enforcement of basic rights for vulnerable workers. Consultations finished last month, and we have had more than 420 responses. I give huge thanks to all stakeholders who contributed; we will be responding very shortly.

Insecure work weakens our economy. Last week the Office for National Statistics reported falls in manufacturing and construction output. The past few weeks have been dominated by Ministers worrying about their jobs. When will the Government have a functioning industrial strategy that worries about my constituents’ jobs?

I am sure the hon. Gentleman and his constituents will welcome today’s news that we have record employment in the British economy. We totally agree with him that the future of work is good work, which is why we commissioned the Taylor review and want to deal with the challenges of the gig economy. I hope that we will get cross-party support for those vital protections for his constituents and for mine.

Rather than simplify employment law, the Taylor review has recommended introducing yet another category of workers, so we will have three tiers with different employment protections. The EU directive on transparent and predictable working that is currently being considered provides an EU-wide definition of workers, clarity and transparency, and the right to a written statement of terms and conditions on day one of employment. Will the Minister confirm that the Government will support the directive, so that it is adopted before 29 March next year?

Again, I thank all respondents to the consultation, including many high-quality responses from the unions. We will respond to the consultation in due course.

One in six workers in our economy is now self-employed. Some are bogusly self-employed—not entitled to the basic protections that we should all expect when we go out to work every day. Matthew Taylor’s review into good work was published more than a year ago. When are the Government going to respond and bring forward legislation to end this abuse?

The hon. Lady, as always, makes a powerful point. We are taking action by prosecuting companies that are not paying the national minimum wage and we are ensuring that those basic rights are enforced. We want to get this right because this legislation will have to last not just for six months or a year, but for many years as our economy develops.

I am sure that the whole House will join me in wishing my hon. Friend the Member for North West Durham (Laura Pidcock) all the best during her maternity leave. As we know, the Taylor review failed to offer much protection for those in the gig economy who are pregnant. The Government’s earlier Deane review on self-employment made recommendations on equalising maternity allowance, but that was two and a half years ago. Do the Government intend to implement those recommendations?

I welcome the hon. Gentleman to his position. I was around his constituency on Saturday helping to launch the RSS Sir David Attenborough—what a fine place he represents. He is absolutely right to focus on these basic maternity protections. This Government are continuing to improve paternity and maternity rights. We want to get that right and that will be part of our response.