Queen’s Speech

Not much in the Queen’s Speech to cheer businesses this year, I’m afraid. More training for younger employees, funded by…er…anyway, also there’s going to be an inquiry on whether we need …

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7th November 2007 at 9:45 pm

Not much in the Queen’s Speech to cheer businesses this year, I’m afraid. More training for younger employees, funded by…er…anyway, also there’s going to be an inquiry on whether we need all the red tape introduced by Gordy and his predecessor.

I’m all for an inquiry into red tape. The only problem that I can see is that an inquiry can yield the result, ‘you’re doing fine, thanks’.  More worrying is the increase in flexible working.

I’m completely in favour of flexible working. As a jobbing freelance I consider myself a living example of how it can be made to work. You might notice this blog entry is timed in the evening – so I can put my daughter to bed with a story. This is all good stuff but I’m self-employed so I don’t have to work out how to hit deadlines while I’m doing it. Not all employers are so fortunate.

There are two bad things going on here. First, the assumption that getting both parents to work is a good thing per se. No doubt this is true when they have to pay off the credit card balances we’ve all been encouraged to build up over the past few years, but overall does it really go without saying that parents should put their careers first? If it were affordable for me I’d certainly consider taking a long break.

Second, it seems this is a classic example of the Government introducing legislation with no real idea of who’ll pay for it. They’ve done it before and confounded expectations when it didn’t hurt, of course – many people predicted mass unemployment in the light of the minimum wage, which turned out to be far from the case. Nevertheless the idea of learning management skills for flexible policies when everyone who has kids up to the age of 17 wants a break is a substantial change and failing to offer a costed means of achieving it whilst proposing legislation allowing it looks like an amazing oversight.

Guy Clapperton

Guy Clapperton is a freelance journalist who specialises in small business issues and has written for the likes of The Guardian, the FT and the Daily Mirror. Guy has written about finance and franchising for SmallBizPod. http://www.guyclapperton.co.uk

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  1. I think it would have been funny if the Queen had turned around and said she was dissolving Parliament and taking autocratic powers back for herself. The look on the MPs faces, especially Gordon Brown, would have been priceless.

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