Work and family feature in Cameron’s vision

Job creation, apprenticeships and state-funded childcare are expected to be centre stage in the new Conservative government’s legislative programme.

Welder with blue glow creating frame
New cabinet members attending today’s first all-Conservative cabinet meeting heard prime minister David Cameron tell them that they must focus on down-to-earth ways of improving people’s lives.The new Conservative government is likely to announce an employment bill in the 27 May State Opening of Parliament, alongside further details of the upcoming legislative timetable. Commentators then expect the bill to be fast-tracked through parliament.Following Conservative party manifesto commitments and Mr Cameron’s post-election victory speech outside 10 Downing Street on Friday, the government is expected to focus on enabling the creation of two million jobs and three million apprenticeships over the next five years. It is also expected to increase to 30 hours state-funded childcare for all children aged 3-4.Mr Cameron said, “Our manifesto is a manifesto for working people, and as a majority government we will be able to deliver all of it.”Newly released employment data from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, suggest that the government’s new job creation agenda has forward momentum.The CIPD’s quarterly Labour Market Outlook survey of more than 1,000 employers identifies “continued optimism on hiring intentions."This quarter’s net employment balance – the difference between the proportion of employers who expect to increase staff levels and those who expect to decrease levels in the second quarter of 2015 – increased from +24 to +25.Prospects in the manufacturing and production sector in particular rose sharply, from +28 to +51. Confidence in the services sector faired less well, falling 7 points from +38 to +31 since the winter 2014-15 report.However, while the prospects for jobs growth look good, pay rates have yet to rise to pre-recession levels.Basic pay is expected to grow by just 1.8 per cent in the coming year, according to the latest Labour Market Outlook, down from 2 per cent in the previous quarter.Productivity growth also remains subdued, a concern for long-term growth and competitiveness.Commenting, Gerwyn Davis, the CIPD’s labour market analyst, cited the strong labour supply, particularly from migrants, welfare claimants entering the labour market and older workers staying in employment longer, as reducing pressure on salary increases.He pointed to the importance of more investment in employees as a way of boosting the UK’s growth and raising wages.“Many employers are not finding it hard to recruit at the moment, but at some point the market will begin to tighten and turn into widespread labour shortages,” he said.“Business investment remains strong on average, yet overall levels of training spend are falling. More employers need to re-allocate spending towards workforce development in order to deliver the productivity improvements that are essential to achieve higher levels of pay growth.”For more HR and employment news and features from Re:locate, please click here.