Cameron’s Job Creation Advisor

Some time ago, David Cameron apparently asked a private individual, Mr Adrian Beecroft to produce a report for him (the Prime Minister) of recommendations regarding “job creation”. (The Closed Loop of Neoliberal Political Lobbying)

Mr Beecroft is commonly described as a venture capitalist, for example: “a multi-millionaire venture capitalist, Adrian Beecroft, whose interests include an online company offering payday loans at huge rates of interest”  (The Independent )

Whatever David Cameron expected from Mr Beecroft’s report, it could not reasonably have been a disinterested or academic view. Had he wanted those qualities, Cameron might have turned to one or (preferably) more tenured academics with a serious record of publishing peer-reviewed studies on the subject. (Though to be fair to Cameron, finding an academic Economist who is not bound by sponsorship or by true-belief (or both) to neoclassical economics is extremely difficult). Mr Beecroft and his spouse, by contrast, have recently donated £.5M to the Conservative Party. There have also been allegations that Mr Beecroft’s company has made use of offshore secrecy jurisdictions (See Independent report, above).

The recommendations in this Beecroft report ( he advises on other matters, allegedly, for example on more savage cuts to the NHS than those planned) only came in summary form: a less than substantial fifteen pages. They have, of course, been leaked since October last year though the full report (such as it is) has not been made public.

As it is reported that the attendees of the G8 have agreed they will return home to focus on “jobs and growth”, The Telegraph reports some of the main points again. The verb “reform” implies improve; but it’s interesting to see what supports Beecroft’s ideas to create jobs.  Please keep in view that until very recently Adrian Beecroft was Senior Investment Officer in Apax, a private equity “player” which is behind Wonga the payday loans company, amongst many other companies.

  • An end to a mandatory 90-day consultation period when a company is considering redundancy programmes. (to be reduced to 30 days, or 5 days in emergency). Deregulation. This will accelerate redundancy programmes, reduce the influence of Trades Unions, reduce employees’ rights, and of course ease takeovers and mergers (especially of struggling businesses). There is nothing in here that will create jobs; but it will cut costs of private equity companies.
  • A cap on loss of earnings compensation for employees who make successful unfair dismissal claims. Deregulation. There is nothing here that will create jobs. It is simply intended to make unfair dismissal less onerous on the employer and whoever funds the compensation.
  • Major reform of the TUPE, the transfer of undertakings that temporarily protects workers contracts when they move from one employer to another. Deregulation. There is nothing her that will create jobs. This is an idea for which the Chancellor, George Osborne, has expressed support. Reducing TUPE will make outsourcing, mergers and takeovers easier and less costly to the new employer. One major impact would be to accelerate the transfer of public sector staff to private sector employers, and the rate at which those employers can cut costs by reducing those employees’ terms and conditions. Beneficiaries of these changes would be private healthcare companies awarded NHS contracts. Apax represents General Healthcare and a number of other such companies.
  • An end to provisions in the Equality Act which make employers liable for claims from employees for “third party harassment”. Deregulation. Once again, there is no clear mechanism by which this would create jobs. It will reduce, for example, the risk to employers of claims from staff harassed by customers by removing employers’ obligations of care to employees.
  • Moving the responsibility to check on foreign workers’ eligibility to work in Britain from employers to the Border Agency or the Home Office. This would make it easier for employers to employ ineligible workers, particularly for temporary positions (until they were notified as ineligible). There is no mechanism by which this can create jobs.

The common thread in these proposals is the reduction of risk to employers http://wp.me/p1PXdI-2U and the increase of risk to employees. It’s obvious that the proposals are intended to make takeovers, mergers, and outsourcing easier and less costly; and to make business much easier for the cost-cutting private company taking over public sector contracts with ex-public sector employees.

A less than cynical reader might be persuaded that Adrian Beecroft’s recommendations were intended to benefit Adrian Beecroft’s line of business and some of Apax’ companies, rather than create jobs.

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