Wednesday, 4 September 2013

How not to save the British economy

A simple way of summarising a key plank of the Tory’s economic policy is that it involves shitting on the poor the morning after a red, hot curry. No, I’m not talking about the benefit changes because that’s more a madras than a phaal, what I mean here are the changes beginning to be made that originated in the report on employment law submitted by Adrian Beecroft, a driver of several Aston Martins, a private equity millionaire and a Tory party donor*.

Beecroft, the private equity millionaire and Tory party donor whose given fistfuls of fivers to the Tory party, began his report as follows; “Britain has a deficit crisis, from which the only escape route is economic growth. Growth needs to be encouraged in every way possible. Businesses must be able to manage their affairs in a way that allows them to become more efficient, more competitive on a domestic and global basis and hence more likely to grow and employ more people.

Yet much of employment law and regulation impedes the search for efficiency and competitiveness. It  deters small businesses in particular from wanting to take on more employees: as a result they grow more slowly than they otherwise might. Many regulations, conceived in an era of full employment, are designed to make employment more attractive to potential employees. That was addressing yesterday’s problem. In today’s era of a lack of jobs those regulations simply exacerbate the national problem of high unemployment”.

Cool. Me? I work in a lightly unionised PLC to be sure, but in an industry with an established tradition of gold plating the minimum standards employment law sets because its engaged in the “war for talent” bullshit i.e. I’m insulated from much of the mad shite Beecroft trotted out. Similarly, so are public sector workers who, for the most part, have good union representation. 

But, Beecroft - the private equity millionaire and Tory party donor - knows this, he does refer explicitly to small businesses after all. Really, his notions will have the greatest impact on those most reliant on employment law to set the minimum standards their employers have to meet, which in practice means the lowest paid. 

So here's a (tweaked**) list of the 10 worst paid jobs in Britain in 2012 because they’re the people most exposed to the Beecroft proposals:
  • Haridressers £12.1k
  • Waiters £12.4k
  • Bar staff £12.8k
  • Kitchen & catering assistant £12.9k
  • Nursery assistants £13.9k
  • Sales & Retail assistants £14.3k
  • Cleaners £14.4k
  • Housekeepers £15.1k
  • Cooks £15.6k
  • Receptionists £15.9k
Picking thru the list you notice a couple of things. 1) They’re feminized occupations for the most part, 2) they’re non-union, but 3) and most importantly, given the  Beecroft chat about global competitiveness, you can’t export/outsource any of them, not a frickin’ one (you try getting your hair cut via an Indian call centre, go on I dare ya).

So there you are then, putting to one side the Tory tosh shat out in say Britannia Unchained, the reality of actual Tory policy, as shat out by Adrian Beecroft - the private equity millionaire and Tory party donor whose given fistfuls of fivers to the Tory party – is that to restore Britain’s global competitiveness and address the deficit crisis, we need to make it easier to hire and fire bar staff. And nursery assistants. And receptionists, especially the receptionists. Now I don’t know about you, but to me that seems as mental as its dumb as it’s completely beside the point as it’s nasty.

 * Didn't realise Beecroft part owned Wonga. I originally assumed he was just trying to come up with ways to cut costs at the companies he owned. Turns out his proposals are actually geared to drumming up more pay day lending business as well.
** Tweaked in the sense that the list had sales assistants in it multiple times

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