Christmas comes early for Institute of Directors

John Rider, West Midlands chairman of the Institute of Directors, has hailed a triple drop of festive cheer.
He described figures showing stable inflation, Government progress on red tape, and an increase in the number of women directors as “the sort of early Christmas presents business needs”.

Mr Rider said: “If we can now just get the economy consistently heading in the right direction following months of stop-start then 2013 will be a much better year.

“Part of that is keeping a tight lid on inflation, so the latest Consumer Prices Index figure of 2.7 per cent in November, unchanged from October, is most welcome.”

Responding to an update on the Government’s ‘One-in, One-out’ policy for regulation, estimated to have saved businesses £836 million between January 2011 and January 2013, Mr Rider went on: “The Government’s red tape bonfire is about to be re-lit under Business and Enterprise Minister Michael Fallon’s watch.

“With ‘One-In, Two-Out’ kicking in from 2013, businesses hope that the deregulation savings delivered so far could eventually increase to £4-5 billion.

“For years endless promises on deregulation have produced very little – let’s hope we are at last getting somewhere. Red tape is the bugbear of business.

“Equally, the announcement that the period required for consultation on collective redundancy will be reduced from 90 to 45 days is another step in the right direction. Companies facing problems have to be able to restructure swiftly, and, although we would have preferred a move to 30 days – the same as for smaller-scale redundancies – which would have made the law less complex, a 45 day consultation period brings the UK closer to a number of EU competitors.

“However, in the practical world, employers would be better advised to stay flexible on consultation generally and to involve their workforce whether unionised or not in matters which will have a big impact on the future of their organisations.”

And, commenting on research by Experian showing that the number of female directors in the UK is on the rise, he continued: “The total number of female directors has jumped by a quarter since 2007, and that is great news … although there is clearly a long way to go. There are still sectors where women are almost entirely absent.

“It is however encouraging to see many more boardrooms opening their doors to the full pool of talent in the UK, and a growing number of women starting their own companies.”