Thursday News Review

£60m, a drop in the Future Job Fund’s ocean

David Cameron and Nick Clegg will be together at an event later to launch a government drive on youth unemployment. The prime minister and his deputy will announce a £60m package to boost work prospects and vocational education. They will commit in their appearance in London to tackle “structural barriers” to young people starting a career. It comes as the coalition is under more strain after the flagship policy of directly elected police commissioners was defeated in the House of Lords. – BBC News

The Government has announced a £60m funding boost to help youth employment. As nearly 700,000 14- to 18-year-olds are currently not in employment or full-time education, it is hoped the cash will help boost apprenticeships and reform vocational education. The announcement comes as 100 large companies and tens of thousands of small companies across the country have responded to the Government’s call and pledged to offer work experience places. In total the coalition will provide funding for up to 250,000 more apprenticeships over the next four years, and funding for 100,000 work placements over the next two years. The £60m will be spent over the three years and fund more early access Work Programme places, increase the capacity of Jobcentre Plus to support teenagers who are not in education, employment or training and pay for a new £10m per year Innovation Fund to help disadvantaged people. – Yorkshire Post

The war on red tape claims its first victims

Unions have rounded on the government over plans to water down workers’ rights to “make it easier for businesses to grow”. Lib Dem minister Ed Davey will announce the new areas of employment legislation up for review at the Institute for Economic Affairs as the government attempts to clear away restrictions for employers. It will consult on cutting compensation payments for discrimination, reducing the current 90-day timescale for firms to consult over job losses, and changing the Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations (Tupe) which protects the pay and conditions of public sector workers transferred between companies. One law firm has warned that the move will disadvantage women and ethnic minority workers. The government is already simplifying the employment tribunal system, looking at extending the period before an unfair dismissal claim can be brought and reviewing the system for managing sickness absence. – the Guardian

Workers are set to receive less protection against redundancy, dismissal and workplace discrimination as the Chancellor George Osborne tears up sections of employment law so businesses can dispose of their staff more easily. Mr Osborne has proposed imposing a cap on awards given in cases of discrimination and abuse in the workplace on the grounds of race or gender. Employers will also be able to sack people more quickly. As well as introducing fees and new rules to prevent “vexatious” claims at employment tribunals, the Government wants to review the unlimited penalties currently applied in employment tribunals, simplify the administration of the national minimum wage and reform the consultation period for collective redundancies. Mr Osborne attacked the trade unions as “the forces of stagnation” who “will try to stand in the way of the forces of enterprise”. The Chancellor’s words were criticised by the unions and Labour Party. John Denham, the shadow Business Secretary, said: “George Osborne’s only idea for growth is to make it easier to cut pay and pensions, dismiss employees without giving time to plan for the future, and make working life more insecure. Successful companies have a workforce that is confident, dedicated and fairly rewarded.” – the Independent

Lords ‘rip the heart’ out of policing bill

Rebel Liberal Democrats scuppered flagship Tory plans for elected police commissioners last night. Former Met chief Ian Blair sided with Lib Dem peers to inflict a bruising Lords defeat on David Cameron. The introduction of elected police chiefs – with the power to hire and fire chief constables – is the Prime Minister’s flagship law and order policy. The Tories say it is vital for making police more accountable to the public. But peers voted to change the plan so that commissioners are appointed by policing panels – not the public – leaving the plan worthless. Liberal Democrat Baroness Harris of Richmond, who led the revolt, said the proposals ‘put so much power in the hands of one person’ that they posed ‘great risks to policing’. The independent peer claimed there was nothing to stop a police commissioner ‘just announcing that he has got rid of the chief constable, or that he wishes to get rid of the chief constable or he has no confidence in the chief constable.’ Analysis of division lists showed there were 13 Lib Dem rebels. The Government’s position was supported by 36 Lib Dem peers. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: ‘The Lords have ripped the heart out of this deeply flawed flagship Bill’. – Daily Mail

David Cameron suffered a major set-back last night after his flagship plan for elected police commissioners was chucked out in the House of Lords. Peers instead backed a rebel Lib Dem move that would see the commissioners appointed rather than directly elected. The PM wanted to see commissioners elected from May next year to replace police authorities in England and Wales. They would have the power to hire and fire chief constables and set forces’ budget and “strategic direction”. But under Lib Dem Baroness Harris of Richmond’s amendment, the chiefs would be chosen by a police and crime panel and not by the public. She raised deep fears over plans that would pose “great risks to policing”. – Daily Mirror

Change or lose

Ed Miliband has been given an astonishing warning by a senior shadow Cabinet minister that he is on course to lose the next election. Shadow culture secretary Ivan Lewis, who backed David Miliband in the Labour leadership contest, said the party was seen as one of the ‘North, benefit claimants and immigrants’. His remarks are the most serious internal criticism of Mr Miliband since he became Labour leader last September. They reflect growing anxiety among a rump of Blairite MPs that he is appealing only to core voters, rather than reaching out to swing voters who will decide the next election. They are calling on Mr Miliband to change his strategy after results in last week’s local elections that were worse than those of Michael Foot – Labour’s least successful leader ever. Mr Lewis said the elections showed that so-called ‘squeezed middle’ voters were not yet returning to the Labour fold. In a provocative speech to the modernising group Progress last night, Mr Lewis warned that southern voters see Labour as standing up for other people. – Daily Mail

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One Response to “Thursday News Review”

  1. Jonathan says:

    The Government has dealt a hammer blow to workers rights. How can employees afford over £1,000 for a hearing, when employers are already treating workers like they did in this case which happened under existing legislation.

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