Downing Street refuses to rule out post-Brexit changes to 48-hour working week

Downing Street has refused to rule out changes to the 48-hour working week.
Downing Street has refused to rule out changes to the 48-Hour working week.Downing Street has refused to rule out changes to the 48-Hour working week.
Downing Street has refused to rule out changes to the 48-Hour working week.

Reports this morning suggested the UK Government was hoping to use Brexit to overhaul labour laws.

Asked today about the changes, Number 10 insisted they were looking at new policies to “stimulate business growth”.

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Boris Johnson’s spokesman said: “We will not be lowering workers’ rights.

“We will continue to protect and enhance workers’ rights, we will continue to look at policies to help and stimulate business growth, innovation and job creation.

“But those policies would never be at the expense of workers’ rights.”

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No decisions have been made by ministers, but Number 10 did not rule out removing overtime holiday entitlement or changing rules around breaks.

Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: “I’m not going to get into hypotheticals but the general principle remains the case that we’ve got one of the best workers’ rights records in the world, this government is not going to do anything to change that.

Earlier today shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband accused the Government of taking a “wrecking ball” to workers rights.

He said: "Ministers have promised time and again they will not row back on workers’ rights but their mask has slipped.

“Crucially while the Government speaks in platitudes, there has been no real denial that the specific proposals reported are on the table.

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"These proposals to rip up workers' rights should not even be up for discussion, and Labour will fight tooth and nail against them if Ministers pursue this course of action.

“The pandemic has imposed huge hardship on workers and families in our country.

“As we emerge from this emergency, we cannot go back to business as usual.”

The SNP’s Shadow Business Secretary Drew Hendry MP insisted Scotland could avoid the changes by going independent.

He said: "It is clear that the only way to properly protect workers' rights in Scotland is to become an independent country - with full powers over employment law, equality law, and the ability to protect Scotland's place in Europe.

"Millions of workers depend on the protections that are enshrined in EU law.

“Westminster cannot be trusted to protect and advance them - as the Tory assault on workers' rights begins with a race to the bottom on deregulation."

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