Mel Stride is the Member of Parliament for Central Devon, founder of the Deep Blue group, and an entrepreneur.
Along with its headline grabbing decision to look into the practicalities of a General Strike over public sector pay and conditions, a key message from last week’s TUC conference is that the union movement is especially determined to confront the Government over labour market reform. Departing General Secretary, Brendan Barber, dismissed planned Government measures as nothing more than "making it easier for bad employers to get away with misconduct" and asserted that easing labour regulations "will not create a single new job". His views are shared widely across the trade union movement and the reform of employment legislation is likely to occupy a key area in the battleground between unions and government over the coming months.
The line adopted by the TUC on supply-side reform is to misunderstand both the severity of our current economic challenges and the importance of enterprise and business in helping us to come through them. To propel ourselves firmly out of recession it will be increasingly important to leverage enterprise and to continue to press ever harder in our support for business. The Government has already done a great deal. The Chancellor’s progressive step-down in corporation tax rates and the recently announced reforms to employment tribunals are welcome examples of bold and positive action. And John Hayes in particular leaves a legacy of real success through his boosting of high quality apprenticeships – an achievement that will in turn inject skills and growth into the veins of our economy for many years to come.