Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden): Can the Secretary of State tell us which of the 23 proposed directives listed in the European social agenda document that the Government endorsed yesterday will reduce burdens on business?

    Mr. Byers: Some of them will reduce burdens on business. [Hon. Members: “Which ones?”] The right hon. Gentleman needs to be aware that there is a clear distinction between the Conservative party and the Government. [Interruption.] I hope that Opposition Members will listen to this, because the distinction is important. In the Conservative party, “cutting red tape” is code for cutting basic standards in the workplace. When the Tories talk about cutting red tape, they are talking about attacking the national minimum wage. They are talking about attacking better maternity provisions and the right to paid holidays. They are talking about attacking working parents who are trying to balance holding down a job with being a good parent.

    We will lift the bureaucratic burden on business, but we will not compromise our commitment to decent standards in the workplace.