Despite countless previous reviews pending and an agreed ‘Good Work Plan’ awaiting implementation, yet another review into “future of work” has been commissioned by the Prime Minister. Matt Warman MP has been to lead a review into how the government can best support a thriving future UK labour market.
According to the government’s press release, this latest review will build on existing government commitments (including those in the Good Work Plan) to assess key questions as “we look to build back better from the pandemic”.
Tax has been specifically excluded from the terms of reference for the review. Instead, the scope has been suggested to consider the following, non-exhaustive, list of key policy questions/challenges:
- The importance of place and local labour markets in creating and facilitating access to good jobs.
- The role of automation and how quickly it is happening.
- How we can build on the ‘good’ flexibility in our labour market and the gig economy, whilst ensuring sufficient protections are in place to prevent exploitative practices. And how we can do this in a way that encourages productivity and growth.
The review is due to take place this summer, and should culminate in a report to be submitted to the Prime Minister.
Much of this sounds very familiar with echoes of Matthew Taylor’s review which was published in July 2017. Now, almost five years later, this previous review seems to have been gathering dust as there are numerous recommendations agreed but pending any action. Obviously COVID has changed the world in that time, but notwithstanding, it seems unforgivable that agreed changes which would benefit large swathes of our workforce have not been implemented.
I suspect the main reason for announcing a further review is actually to pacify the numerous critics who were appalled at the broken promise of once again not including the Employment Bill in the current parliament.