Politics: Directive `to cost employers pounds 2bn'

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The Independent Online
The Government came under pressure yesterday to review its adoption of the Working Time Directive because it would cost employers pounds 2bn.

John Redwood accused Peter Mandelson, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, of "cynically slipping" the legislation through during the summer recess to bypass business and avoid criticism.

Speaking during a debate on the new regulation, Mr Redwood, shadow trade secretary, said: "The Directive adds administrative burdens that penalise even good employers who already provide good leave and reasonable working hours."

Serbian President Milosevic had made "some progress" toward meeting the UN demands over the conflict in Kosovo, Robin Cook told MPs.

But the Foreign Secretary warned during Question Time: "There is a long way still to go before we have secured a self-governing Kosovo with its own elected leadership and free from repression from Belgrade.

"Now is the time to keep our guard up," he added.