On the steps of 10 Downing Street as her premiership was about to begin, Theresa May vowed to create “a country that works for everyone”.
While a Prime Minister’s first speech may not be a binding indication of their priorities, we do have some clues as to Ms May’s focus in the short to medium term.
Alongside a new Prime Minister, there are a number of new Ministers with direct relevance to the recruitment industry:
• Rt Hon Damian Green MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions• Damien Hinds MP, Minister of State for Employment• Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy• Margot James MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility (who amongst other things, has responsibility for the Conduct Regulations.)• Rt Hon Robert Halfon, Minister of State, Skills and Apprenticeships
We are already in the process of setting up meetings with key government officials to ensure the concerns of REC members are at the fore.
One of the major issues facing the new government will, of course, be Brexit. The government has created a new department to negotiate exiting the European Union, headed by David Davis. At the REC, we believe the best thing for everyone right now is to have a period of calm before pushing ahead with the negotiations. To help ensure the negotiations are fruitful, we need real clarity on the proposals, with strong input from business.
For now, nothing has changed – but we are reviewing the long list of regulations that affect the UK labour market and derive from the EU. There will need to be a lot of serious discussion before the government decides what to change and we aim to ensure the recruitment industry’s voice is heard loud and clear as they go through this process. In our previous blog, we explained how the REC is representing you to the new government.
Immigration will be one of the most significant challenges for the government and a key factor in deciding what type of Brexit we get. The government has already stated a goal of bringing down immigration to ‘sustainable levels’. Exactly what this means is unknown, but the REC will be at the forefront of the debate calling for a system which reflects our immediate labour market requirements, and enables business to access the people they need.
The government has merged BIS and the Department for Energy and Climate Change to create the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. A cabinet committee chaired by the Prime Minister has been set up to focus on the economy and the industrial strategy. This is welcome news given that the REC called for an industrial strategy in our manifesto for jobs last year.
What else to look out for:
• We have seen an emphasis on curbing executive pay, and hints that before too long, we might follow the lead of Germany and promote workers and consumers onto boards, alongside promoting more inclusive boards. We will let you know the details as soon as they are announced.
• It is widely predicted that the new Chancellor Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP will ‘reset fiscal policy’ at the upcoming Autumn Statement. Exactly what will be announced is still uncertain, but the REC’s policy team will keep you up to date. We will use webinars and sector group meetings to get members’ feedback and continue to engage with government to help build the best jobs market in the world.