A report said that Wales was affected at above average levels by welfare reform and that, within the Valleys, there were some communities where the average financial loss from the reform was estimated to be £1,000 a year per adult of working age. Overall, the report estimated that welfare reform would remove almost four times as much, per year, from the Welsh economy as was received in European Union funding for regional development. The report said that policy aimed at economic growth and job generation had the potential to deliver financial savings, and pointed to Jobs Growth Wales (which provided job opportunities for unemployed 16-24 year olds for a six month period, paid at or above the national minimum wage) as a good example of what could be achieved.
Source: Christina Beatty and Steve Fothergill, The Impact of Welfare Reform on the Valleys, Centre for Regional, Economic and Social Research (Sheffield Hallam University)
A report provided interim findings from the evaluation of Jobs Growth Wales, which aimed to provide employment opportunities for unemployed and job-ready young people aged 16 to 24 who had experienced difficulty in securing employment. The scheme provided participants with a job opportunity for a six month period paid at, or above, the national minimum wage, or a £6,000 bursary to support them to start their own business. The evaluation examined the effectiveness of programme processes, measured the net impact of the programme, and assessed its value for money. A second report, published alongside, examined the characteristics and destinations of young people who left their JGW jobs early, and the circumstances that had led to the early exit.
Source: Ipsos MORI, Wavehill Consulting, and WISERD, Jobs Growth Wales: Interim evaluation report, Research Report 79/2014, Welsh Government
Source: Ipsos MORI, Evaluation of Jobs Growth Wales: Early leavers report, Research Report 80/2014, Welsh Government
A report outlined the ways in which the Scottish Government planned to use the powers made available through independence (in the event of a 'yes' vote in the forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence) to create more, and better, job opportunities in Scotland.
Source: A Jobs Plan for an Independent Scotland, Scottish Government
An article raised a number of objections to the 'radical-pluralist' theory of the employment relationship, and set out an alternative, 'neo-pluralist' sociological and historical perspective.
Source: Peter Ackers, 'Rethinking the employment relationship: a neo-pluralist critique of British industrial relations orthodoxy', International Journal of Human Resource Management, Volume 25 Issue 18
An article examined the short-run impact of European Union Objective One funding on local labour markets in Great Britain. Employment and job-related training gaps between the Objective One and non-Objective One area narrowed during the funding period.
Source: Melanie Jones and Louise Skilton, 'An analysis of labour market outcomes in the European Union Objective One funding area in Great Britain', Regional Studies, Volume 48 Number 7
The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill was published. The Bill was designed to: regulate abuse of the national minimum wage and use of the zero hours contract; make changes to childcare regulations; and prevent higher paid public sector employees from retaining redundancy payments if they returned to work in the same part of the public sector within a specified time.
Source: Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, TSO
The Queen's Speech set out the United Kingdom coalition government's legislative programme for 2014-15. It included plans for a Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill to include provisions to: regulate abuse of the national minimum wage and abuse of the zero hours contract; make changes to childcare regulations; and prevent higher paid public sector employees from retaining redundancy payments if they returned to work in the same part of the public sector within a specified time.
Source: Queen's Speech, 4 June 2014, columns 1-4, House of Commons Hansard, TSO
Links: Hansard | Prime Ministers Office briefing | Cabinet Office guidance | PMO/DPMO press release | NI Office press release | Scotland Office press release | Wales Office press release | BCC press release | IFoA press release | RICS press release | Scottish Government press release | TUC press release | BBC report | Guardian report | Telegraph report
A think-tank report examined the possibilities for models of 'shared capitalism' to give United Kingdom employees a stake in the success of their workplace, including profit-sharing, employee share-ownership, and the expansion of the co-operative or mutual sector. The report also considered measures to give employees greater influence and control, and discussed ideas for economic reform and new institutions to disperse concentrations of economic power.
Source: Mathew Lawrence and Clare McNeil, Fair Shares: Shifting the balance of power in the workplace to boost productivity and pay, Institute for Public Policy Research
An interim report by a committee of MPs said that the United Kingdom Government's consultation on zero hours contracts was too narrow. Acknowledging that this type of contract could give benefits both to employers and employees, it said that, too often, the relationship was unbalanced, leaving the employer with flexibility and few costs while the worker could be left without access to due rights of employment and, in some cases, paid less than the minimum wage. The report said that the government needed to do more to protect workers who wished to challenge unfair, unsafe, or unlawful conditions of employment.
Source: Zero Hours Contracts in Scotland: Interim report, Tenth Report (Session 201314), HC 654, House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee, TSO
An article examined the impact of labour regulation on unemployment and the labour share of national income in six countries (including the United Kingdom) between 1970-2010. It said that laws protecting workers were positively correlated with labour's share of national income, but had no consistent relationship to unemployment.
Source: Simon Deakin, Jonas Malmberg, and Prabirjit Sarkar, 'How do labour laws affect unemployment and the labour share of national income? The experience of six OECD countries, 1970-2010', International Labour Review, Volume 153 Issue 1
A think-tank report examined the role that small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) could play in promoting full employment, and the support they needed to achieve this. It made a range of recommendations, including: for greater business support to help meet the costs involved, and learning needed, when taking on a first employee; to reform the system of statutory sick pay to reduce the potential liabilities that SMEs faced; to facilitate a role for SMEs in providing temporary work placements under the work programme; and to introduce a business-led insurance scheme for SMEs, offering occupational benefits such as maternity and sick pay in return for regular contributions.
Source: Spencer Thompson, Small Firms, Giant Leaps: Small businesses and the road to full employment, Institute for Public Policy Research
A report examined the concept of wellbeing, its definition, and its measurement, and made a range of recommendations regarding mental health, community, income and work, and governance.
Source: Gus O'Donnell, Angus Deaton, Martine Durand, David Halpern, and Richard Layard, Wellbeing and Policy, Legatum Institute
A report examined the use of life expectancy measures in United Kingdom policy, the drivers behind demographic shifts and population ageing, and the means, and use, of life expectancy calculations for policy purposes. It said that life expectancy was a measure of quantity, not quality, of life and that policies such as setting the state pension age needed to take account of healthy life expectancy and disability-free life expectancy. The report said that such measures varied significantly by region and social class, and policy decisions could therefore disadvantage particular groups more than others. It noted that raising the state pension age would transfer spending from the state pension to disability and unemployment benefits. The report made a range of recommendations for policy.
Source: David Sinclair, Kirsten Moore, and Ben Franklin, Linking State Pension Age to Longevity: Tackling the fairness challenge, International Longevity Centre – UK
A paper examined the employment situation of young and old workers in the European Union member states during the recent economic crisis, and policies implemented to promote their employment. It said that, although policies to enhance the functioning of European Union labour markets were crucial to both groups, policy responsibility still predominantly lay within member states. However, it noted that initiatives taken at the European Union level could still add value, such as through facilitating regional and cross-border mobility.
Source: Werner Eichhorst, Tito Boeri, An de Coen, Vincenzo Galasso, Michael Kendzia, and Nadia Steiber, How to Combine the Entry of Young People in the Labour Market with the Retention of Older Workers?, Institute for the Study of Labor (Bonn)
A report evaluated the provision of start up loans for young entrepreneurs in the south west of England.
Source: SQW, Understanding Localised Policy Interventions ï¿½ Startup loans in Englandï¿½s south west, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills