It was supposed to be a report on the policymaking role of government special advisers — but wonking former Vince Cable SpAd turned FT leader writer Giles Wilkes can’t help laying into Number 10’s attempts to trample on workers’ rights at the behest of a Tory donor.
His inside account of the Beecroft Report will not make pleasant reading for its author — or for others in Whitehall who advocated the removal of protections such that employers could fire staff at will:
“there was no evidence that [Adrian Beecroft] had any specific expertise in employment law, apart from his own distant experience of difficulties removing a staff member.
“For the report he wanted to write, he had one overriding view: that the right to protection from unfair dismissal was an impediment to getting rid of underperforming staff.
“The central claim that Britain’s employment laws are ‘terrible’ was given only anecdotal support.
Having tried to impose their man on Lib Dem-run BIS, Number 10 only gave up on the proposal when they realised it would make them look bad:
“Political common sense only entered the story once the Prime Minister himself started to think about it, after [the report was leaked].
“I cannot recall whether any thought had been given to how the Opposition might make mischief with the Coalition appearing to do the bidding of a wealthy party donor urging the removal of workers’ rights.
The claim that the Labour Party’s policy process has been captured by union cash will endure as a Tory attack line …
… but to Scrapbook’s knowledge, Comrade Len has never been dispatched to a government department to write his own report.