Great Repeal Bill

The Great Repeal Bill comes a day after the triggering of Article 50, starting the process which will officially take Britain out of the EU in March 2019. In a statement to parliament, David Davis said the repeal bill would allow businesses to continue operating after the UK leaves the EU "knowing the rules have not changed overnight".

He said it would also mean that workers' rights, environmental protection and consumer rights currently enshrined in EU laws would continue as UK laws - although Parliament would be free to change them later.  Business group the CBI welcomed the "clarity and continuity" of the repeal bill and said it would speak to ministers after Brexit about cutting EU red tape. For unions, the TUC called for guarantees that workers' rights such as full holiday pay and equal pay for women will be protected.

Campaigners and lawyers have raised concerns about the precedent, practicalities and purpose of a bill described as “one of the largest legislative projects ever undertaken”.


MPs calling for increased maternity rights

MPs have signed a letter to the minister for women and equalities, arguing that "as long as women continue to take disproportionate responsibility for the care of children, the gender pay gap will persist". In December, the CIPD found just five per cent of new fathers and eight per cent of new mothers had opted to take shared parental leave since it was introduced in April 2015.

They are recommending a statutory entitlement to three months of non-transferable paid parental leave for fathers or second parents, at the same rate as maternity pay.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said, “The UK is in the relegation zone when it comes to decently paid maternity leave. Many European countries offer decent support to new mums . . . My advice to all new mums is to join a union. It is the best way to improve your pay and conditions.”


Hammond was right to raise tax for self-employed, inquiry to report

The Chancellor was correct to announce a tax increase on the self-employed before dramatically withdrawing it from his main budget pledge, an independent inquiry into modern employment practices is likely to conclude. The Chancellor faced controversy after he announced that the National Insurance rate for the self-employed would increase raising about £2bn more for the government by 2022.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA, who is leading the review, told MPs that he supported Philip Hammond’s budget announcement and would look to go further by recommending a levelling of the taxation between different classes of workers.

At the Commons work and pensions committee, Taylor said, “It is likely that two of the strategic shifts we will advocate [in the final report due in June] is that over time we will need to move towards a more consistent way of taxing labour.” He said that over a period of years “we need to get to a position where it doesn’t really matter how you are employed, the system treats you in a very similar kind of way.”

Taylor added, the moves would take time and that short- to medium-term tax changes would also be required in order to protect the public purse.