Edinburgh South Scouts join MP for Speaker’s reception at the House of Commons 12th June 2012


Edinburgh South Scouts joined their local Member of Parliament Ian Murray and 150 young people in Scouting and volunteer Scout leaders from across the UK to mingle with MPs at the annual prestigious Speaker’s reception.  The event, hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Scout Group and the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow MP, is a unique opportunity for young people in Scouting to experience meeting with their own and other MPs in the House of Commons to talk about the challenges facing Scouting, such as the lack of adult volunteers.

Emily Au a 16 year old Explorer Scout who was given the opportunity to attend the reception said,

“Being here today has given me such a fantastic opportunity for me to talk to so many different people who can really make a difference to the Scouting Movement today.  It also gives us a chance to voice our own concerns on common issues that affect young people like the increase in university fees.”.

Ian Murray MP said,

“I was delighted to meet some of the Scouts from South Edinburgh and that they were given the opportunity to attend such a special event.  I also enjoyed meeting Scouts from other parts of the UK to learn about what they do every week with support from committed adult volunteers.  It is clear that Scouting continues to be relevant and dynamic, providing young people the chance to try out new adventures, from hiking to snowboarding to working within their local communities.  I have learned more about the challenges faced by the movement such as the lack of adult volunteers.  I look forward to supporting the groups in my constituency through raising awareness of this issue in parliament.  It should not be underestimated how important adult volunteers are in organisations such as the Scouts, as they become role models to these young people and must be supported.”

TUC analysis shows that Beecroft changes the Government is considering would affect 3 million workers



Ian Murray MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs, commenting on the TUC analysis published today (Thursday) as unions launch the Employee Rights Stop Employment Wrongs campaign, Ian said

“The Government’s failed economic strategy has been blamed on the snow, the Royal wedding, the Eurozone, business owners and now employees.  Making it easier to fire rather than hire workers will do nothing for economic growth and this TUC analysis shows that the changes the government is considering would affect 3 million workers and risk creating a two tier workforce which small firms have expressed concerns about.

“They are worried that the changes would make it more difficult to recruit skilled workers who may opt for larger companies with more employee protection.  There is also a risk that it would prevent small businesses from growing beyond 10 workers and, therefore, further damaging economic growth.

“The Beecroft ‘fire at will’ proposals are ideologically driven and have no basis in evidence whatsoever, and they carry the danger of further denting already low consumer confidence.”

Prime Minister is to rip up a range of employment rights and force through the Beecroft report


Commenting on reports today that the Prime Minister is to rip up a range of employment rights and force through the Beecroft report, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna MP said:

“The Prime Minister and his Tory led Government have run out of excuses for tipping this country into a double dip recession, so now they are seeking to dump the blame on others for the mess they have created.  Having sought to blame British businesses for the lack of growth with Ministers telling firms to stop ‘whinging’ and to ‘work harder’, now this out of touch government wants to blame their hard working employees for holding back growth with the rights they enjoy in the work place, despite the fact that the UK has one of the most flexible labour markets in the Western world.

“Our economy is not in recession with over 2.6 million people out of work because of the rights we all enjoy at work – we are in recession because of the economic incompetence of this Government which inherited an economy that was growing with unemployment falling and recovery settling in.  Despite this, Cameron, Clegg, Cable and Osborne refuse to heed calls from business and others who say they have lost the plot and need to adopt a proper growth strategy.  For example, instead of giving a tax break to thousands of millionaires, they could have adopted our proposal to give small businesses a national insurance break when taking on extra workers.

“There is already a growing clamour for some of the more extreme proposals to strip people of their rights at work tabled by the Tory led Government, like the proposal to allow compensated no fault dismissals, to be dropped.  There is so far no sign that they will listen but we will keep up the fight against their extreme proposals.”

Commenting on the failure of the government to publish the Beecroft report on employment law, Labour’s Shadow Employment Relations Minister, Ian Murray MP said:

“In their letter to Labour’s shadow business team, No 10 have refused to publish the Beecroft blueprint to make it easier to fire people stating it would pose ‘a risk to the protection of the policy decision-making process’ but the Government has been openly briefing its contents to the media, showing the utter shambles and incompetence that continues to reign across Whitehall.”

Notes to editors

1.   Attached is No 10 Downing Street’s response to Shadow Employment Relations Minister Ian Murray’s Freedom of Information Request for a copy of the report prepared by Adrian Beecroft for the Prime Minister (the addressee, Paul McKay, is Parliamentary Reseacher to Ian Murray).

2.   According to the OECD, the UK has the third least regulated labour market in the world; only in the USA and Canada is employment regulation less strict: <http://www.oecd.org/document/11/0,3746,en_2649_37457_42695243_1_1_1_37457,00.html>http://www.oecd.org/document/11/0,3746,en_2649_37457_42695243_1_1_1_37457,00.html

3.   In the CIPD’s Summer 2011 Labour Market Outlook, far more employers cited access to finance (28%), and candidates lacking the right skills (50%) as obstacles to business growth than those citing employment regulation: <http://www.cipd.co.uk/hr-resources/survey-reports/labour-market-outlook-summer-2011.aspx>http://www.cipd.co.uk/hr-resources/survey-reports/labour-market-outlook-summer-2011.aspx

4.   Former Bank of England MPC Member, David Blanchflower, 27 February 2012 – “There is zero credible empirical evidence supporting [the] contention that Britain’s economic problems would be fixed by slashing workers’ rights”: <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/david-blanchflower/david-blanchflower-slashing-employment-regulation-would-do-nothing-to-boost-growth-7441395.htmlhttp://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/david-blanchflower/david-blanchflower-slashing-employment-regulation-would-do-nothing-to-boost-growth-7441395.html

Stronger collective action could help millions of consumers, hears Labour’s Consumer Investigation


The first of evidence hearing of Labour’s Consumer Investigation has examined evidence that better empowering consumers through collective action could help million s who suffer financial loss each year. 
Labour’s Consumers Investigation, part of the party’s Policy Review, is looking at ways of putting consumers in the driving seat and ensuring that markets work fairly for businesses and consumers alike. As part of the Investigation, Labour is looking at proposals for a stronger collective action regime – like those that exist in the United States, Australia and Portugal. 
This would mean that consumers could more easily seek redress collectively and launch a claim together. Currently in the UK consumer group Which? is the only body which can bring forward class actions but recent cases such as the PIP breast implants and payment protection insurance scandals highlight the type of case where a stronger class action framework could provide greater redress. 
The evidence session was chaired by Shadow Consumer Minister Ian Murray MP and consumer champion Ed Mayo, formerly Chief Executive of the National Consumer Council who has been described as “the most authoritative voice in the country speaking up for consumers”. It heard from Prashant Vaze, Chief Economist at Consumer Focus and Ron Gainsford, Chief Executive at the Trading Standards Institute as well as contributions from the FSB and Ombudsman Services. 
It examined evidence that there have been more than 50 million consumer complaints in the past year and that financial loss is disproportionally borne to consumers who suffer a loss of £1,000 or less, totalling as much as £800m a year, who would be assisted by stronger collective action procedures. 
Commenting on the evidence at the hearings, Shadow Consumer Minister Ian Murray MP said:   
“What the hearing has shown is the as well as problems for individuals, we must remember that small and micros businesses are also consumers.  In total there were more than 50 million complaints this year so it is timely that we look at what remedies are available and if the current tools for enforcement are working. 
“Questions were raised  around the detriment suffered by consumers suffering financial losses of less than £1000.  This is an area ripe for groups of people to come together to get restorative justice when they have been ripped-off, and that is why Labour is examining proposals to better empower consumers by introducing a class action framework in the UK, allowing consumers to seek redress collectively. Concerns were raised that varied cuts to local authorities were having a significant impact on trading standards and that problems arise where issues cross council boundaries.   
“This evidence gathered will be vital for Labour’s Consumer Investigation, led by consumer champion Ed Mayo, in looking at ways that we can empower consumers, back responsible business, underpin fair markets and end the rip off culture which too often has faced consumers. 
“As Ed Miliband has championed, consumers deserve a fair deal.  That is why Labour have proposed a Consumer Bill that would give new powers to the Financial Conduct Authority and Competition and Markets Authority to stop rip-off surcharges by banks, low-cost airlines and pension firms.  Labour are willing to take on vested interests and get a better deal or ordinary people and businesses up and down the UK.” 

Lamb to the slaughter



Norman Lamb, the employment relations minister, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The past has caught up with a Liberal Democrat making it easier for bosses to sack hired hands without compensation. His Labour shadow Ian Murray acquired a rare, unsigned copy of a book Lamb published in 1998 with the snappy title of Remedies in the Employment Tribunal: Damages for Discrimination and Unfair Dismissal. Back then, the little Lamb toiled as an employment solicitor. His manual advises claimants how to maximise pay-offs. It may be mixing metaphors but Stormin’ Norman appears to be a poacher-turned-gamekeeper.

Ian’s question to the Prime Minister


At Prime Ministers Questions today local MP Ian Murray asked the Prime Minister “my hard pressed constituents in Edinburgh South are angry that his priority in the budget was to give a tax cut worth £40,000 to “millionaires”. Will he tell the House that thanks to his reduction in the top rate of income tax how much his cabinet are collectively better off as a result of this out if touch choice?”.

The Prime Minister failed to answer Ian’s point, who went on to say “It is disgraceful that hard working families in South Edinburgh are being forced to pay for this huge tax cut for the millionaires on the Government front bench. The Prime Minister stated his government would be the most transparent ever, the silence at Prime Ministers Questions was deafening. The only people that are “all in this together” are pensioners and ordinary people all over Edinburgh South subsidising out of touch decisions that benefit those most well off .