PM to meet UK’s biggest firms to discuss job creation

David Cameron is due to meet the bosses of some of the UK’s biggest firms on Monday to discuss their plans to create thousands of new jobs.

John Lewis, Microsoft and all the major supermarkets are among those involved.

The prime minister, who will host the Downing Street meeting, said he was working on the “most pro-business, pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda ever unleashed by a government”.

But Labour leader Ed Miliband will warn cuts could create a “lost generation”.

The BBC’s deputy political editor James Landale said Mr Cameron wanted to show that his government was as focused on encouraging economic growth as it was on cutting public spending.

His meeting with business leaders will focus on what more the government can do to create jobs in the private sector.

For their part, the senior executives will promise to create thousands of jobs and apprenticeships in an attempt to generate some confidence in the economy.

Supermarket chain Morrisons says it will create 6,000 new jobs in 2011, with Tesco promising 9,000 and Sainsbury’s 6,500. Asda has pledged to create 15,000 retail apprenticeships.

John Lewis and Microsoft have promised 4,000 new jobs each and gas company Centrica, 2,600.

Mr Cameron said: “It’s time we looked forward to a positive, strong, confident Britain.
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This decision to betray young people is not just unfair, it is the wrong long-term economic judgment for our country”

End Quote Ed Miliband Labour leader

“By developing the right skills and jobs I am determined that the many, not the few, will share in the country’s prosperity.”

But shortly before the meeting Mr Miliband will use a press conference to accuse the PM of undermining many jobless youngsters’ life chances by ending Labour’s £1bn Future Jobs Fund initiative a year early.

Since 2008, the fund has paid for temporary jobs for 18 to 24-year-olds, who have been out of work for more than six months.

“This decision to betray young people is not just unfair, it is the wrong long-term economic judgment for our country,” Mr Miliband will say.
Unfair dismissal

The government is also said to be considering ways to make the labour market more flexible, including making it easier for small firms to hire and fire staff.

It is expected to launch a consultation later this week to consider a range of reforms.

Among them is a potential doubling – to two years – of the length of time someone must be employed before they can bring an unfair dismissal claim.

Another possibility would be to require anyone bringing a case to an employment tribunal to pay a fee, returnable if they win, in an effort to discourage spurious claims.

The British Chambers of Commerce said employment tribunals were in “dire need” of reform.

But the TUC said the introduction of a fee would deter genuine claimants.

“Instead of a focus on the employment tribunal process, ministers’ time would be better spent looking at why so many companies, especially small employers, have such poor employment practices,” it said. – Bbc