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Cuts herald birth of a new era

20 October 2010

The public sector cuts announced today, and similar measures in other EU States, will mean public sector job losses and upward lurches in unemployment figures. There is no obvious way to bring unemployment figures down again except through expansion in the private sector – not easy in the current climate.

Euro MPs are nevertheless voting today on whether to require employers across the EU to increase maternity entitlement to 20 weeks’ full pay. In the UK this is currently 6 weeks at 90% pay then £124.88 for 33 weeks. The increase would, according to an impact assessment, cost the UK £2.5 billion.

This proposal could not become law for at least three years and would require Member States to agree – which the UK coalition government will not. Maybe the economic situation will have improved by then – but if it has, why not let Member States’ governments decide then whether the time is right to add further employment costs to the UK?

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