King’s Speech represents a missed opportunity for the Government to deliver its promise of an Employment Bill

The Palace of Westminster and Big Ben alongside pedestrians walking over Westminster Bridge.

Comment from our Director, Ben Harrison, on today's King Speech and the Government's legislative agenda:

“The King’s Speech represented a missed opportunity for the Government to finally set out how it would deliver its promise of an Employment Bill and honour their manifesto commitment to make the UK ‘the best place to work in the world’.

“Instead, we received a vague allusion to reforming welfare and supporting more people into work – which taken together with previous statements from the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, appears to signal tougher welfare sanctions are on the way.

“Pushing people into ‘any job’ will not alleviate worker shortages that some sectors are facing or help workers access better paid, more secure jobs during the ongoing cost of living crisis. Indeed, the Department for Work and Pensions’ own evidence from 2020 suggests sanctions are not effective and slow people’s progress back into work.

“A better focus for the Government would be to honour its manifesto commitment to create a single enforcement body and crack down on any employer abusing employment law. The National Minimum Wage might be rising to record levels, but the latest figures suggest there are fewer enforcement officers than there were in 2019.

“This Parliament has seen bitesize pieces of progress on widening access to flexible working and extending predictable working hours to more workers. But the structural inequalities facing women, disabled people, workers from ethnic minority backgrounds and those with long-term health conditions stubbornly remain.”

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