Sink or swim for statutory redundancy boost

By Alex Stevenson

A backbench Labour MP faces stormy weather in his attempt to strengthen workers’ statutory redundancy rights during the recession.

As the economic clouds darken in Britain’s economy Lindsay Hoyle’s attempt to change the way statutory redundancy is calculated faces its own metaphorical hurricane of government reluctance.

“There’s a storm ahead. Do we turn around?” the Chorley MP said.

“The hurricane is going to hit us. I’m determine we get through to the other side – or sink.”

At stake is statutory redundancy pay, which when introduced in 1965 had a maximum payment cap equivalent to 203 per cent of average weekly earnings.

By 2008 that figure was equivalent to just 56 per cent. Mr Hoyle’s statutory redundancy (amendment) bill hopes to change the formula through which the payments are made to help unemployed workers through the recession.

“No private member’s bill is allowed to cost money,” he explained.

“But we can put a mechanism in that allows it to be looked at in the future. The formula can be looked at in different ways – RPI, for instance.”

Mr Hoyle will meet members of the government in an attempt to win them over in the coming weeks, but it seems clear there is a long way to go.

He added: “I’m trying to persuade the government to back it. There is always reluctance to private member’s bills from ministers. and [employment minister] Pat McFadden is the first to go ‘why me’?”

That is understandable, given last year’s agency worker’s bill and the current Royal Mail headache.

Mr Hoyle has admitted he is “another millstone round his [Mr McFadden’s] neck” but is passionate about changing the way statutory redundancy pay is currently calculated. His bill would link it more closely to average weekly earnings.

“It’s very easy to take down a bill so you can get your name in the history books,” he said.

“I’ve gone for a more difficult task because I think it’s right.”

The bill has its second reading on Friday March 13th.