Lib Dem MP John Pugh condemns Adrian Beecroft report


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Indy Politics

A report aimed at slashing business red tape would fail to spark growth, a Liberal Democrat MP claimed today.

Venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft's study into how to spark growth and ease business rules was published on Monday, and includes a proposal which would make it easier for bosses to sack workers.

Business Secretary Vince Cable criticised the plan as "bonkers", but was absent when MPs debated the report this week and missing from the Commons today.

Speaking at business questions, Lib Dem MP John Pugh (Southport) branded the study one-sided, while fellow Lib Dem Lorely Burt (Solihull) said: "A fire at will policy might be counter-productive and won't actually increase productivity or (provide the) growth that we need so much in the country."

Shadow business minister Ian Murray said: "Downing Street's obsession with Beecroft is not intended to promote growth, but another example of this Government's incoherent and incompetent approach to the economy that puts old Tory ideology before any credible strategy to get people back to work."

Labour MP Ian Lavery (Wansbeck) asked whether Mr Beecroft, a Tory Party donor who he said made millions from private equity deals, was "a fit and proper person" to prepare such a report.

Business Minister Mark Prisk told Mr Lavery: "We need to be very careful with regards to the kind of allegations you're trying to make about the particular individual.

"It's important to have good people who actually understand the market, and that's an important contribution regardless of whatever your prejudices may be."

He said the "fire at will" proposal referred to by Mrs Burt was one of 23 in Mr Beecroft's report, adding: "We want to make sure we look at these matters on the basis of good evidence.

"Once we have had a look at that to weigh the balance pro and against, that's what the Government will make its decision on."