UK labour record challenged - Business - News - The Independent

UK labour record challenged

DIANE COYLE

Economics Editor

Britain's job creation record is little better than that of its main industrialised rivals, according to a new report published today.

The study, released to coincide with the start of the two-day Group of Seven jobs summit in Lille, France, is likely to disappoint the British government, which hopes that the summit of the big industrial countries will endorse its view that deregulation of the labour market is the most effective way to create jobs and reduce unemployment.

The independent Employment Policy Institute argues that the only time employment growth in Britain has been higher than in the other G7 countries was during the unsustainable late-1980s boom.

``The pay-off in terms of extra jobs in Britain has not been spectacular in European terms, let alone in comparison with the US,'' according to EPI director John Philpott.

Some officials from other countries at the summit predict that the event will be a damp squib. Partly due to British insistence that contentious issues should be kept off the agenda, the final statement is likely to be a "lowest common denominator" endorsement of sound macro-economic policy and structural reform.

This means that some countries are unenthusiastic about the meeting of employment and Treasury ministers. The US and France, for example, would have liked to include the scope for ``social clauses'' in trade agreements. These would incorporate trade penalties against developing countries deemed to have an unfair cost advantage by exploiting child labour or indentured workers, for example. But Britain was joined by Canada and Japan in opposing a discussion.

The Americans would also have liked to include an assessment of active government labour market programmes such as retraining.

A further dampener will be the inability of France and Germany to admit that unemployment could be made worse by the need for European countries to reduce their government deficits simultaneously in order to qualify for the single currency. All of the governments stress the importance of deficit reduction - or ``fiscal consolidation'' in the G7 jargon.

The tone for the summit will be set by an opening paper presented today by Jean-Claude Paye, the outgoing director general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Drawing on work commissioned by the last G7 jobs summit, in Detroit two years ago, the OECD emphasises the need for growth based on higher skills and knowledge. It will stress that governments play an essential role in this.

The rich countries' think tank has already criticised Britain for weaknesses in education and training. These shortcomings are acknowledged by Employment and Education Minister Gillian Shepherd, who is eager to avoid a triumphalist tone about Britain's relatively low unemployment rate. ``We lag behind our competitors in areas such as skill levels,'' she says.

The summit will focus tomorrow on how to improve job prospects and incomes for the unskilled and others ``excluded'' from the jobs market.

G7 unemployment

rate (%)

US 5.5

Japan 3.3

Germany 11.1

France 11.8

Italy 12.2

UK 7.9

Canada 9.6

Average 8.8

Suggested Topics
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Senior BA - Insurance **URGENT**

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Training Coordinator / Resource Planner - City, London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator / Pl...

Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week