Beecroft blasted for recommending 'policy by parable'

Labour claims that Mr Beecroft's recommendations are not evidence-based
Labour claims that Mr Beecroft's recommendations are not evidence-based.

By Cassie Chambers

Adrian Beecroft took a beating from MPs on the enterprise and regulatory reform bill committee today, as members of the Labour party aggressively questioned the findings of his controversial report.

Mr Beecroft, ostensibly appearing before the committee to give evidence on pending employment legislation, spent most of his time defending his previous recommendations, many of which have been highly contentious.

Opposition MPs were particularly interested in the methodology Mr Beecroft had used to reach some of his more disputed conclusions, including his assertion that regulations to allow for "compensated no-fault dismissals" of employees will decrease unemployment and increase business efficiency in the long-run.


Chris Ruane questioned the validity of Mr Beecroft's research by asking why he had "failed to use empirical evidence", despite being a "trained scientist".

He went on to accuse the Beecroft report of " propos[ing] policy by parable and legislation by anecdote".

Geraint Davies, another Labour MP, continued the pointed questioning, arguing that Mr Beecroft had used an "out of date opinion survey" to reach his recommendations.

Mr Beecroft acknowledged the empirical shortcomings of some aspects of his report, stating: "I researched all of the work that is available on these issues. Unfortunately there is not much work available."

He continued: "I will accept the accusation that my views… are based on conversations with not a statistically valid sample of people."

The venture capitalist turned policy advisor went on to emphasise that the report was "not based entirely on anecdotal evidence".

Mr Beecroft continued to defend the logic underlying his initial recommendations, calling them "self-evident", but acknowledged that many of the recommendations in the legislation were "a good compromise".

Most of the recommendations from Mr Beecroft's report have been dropped from the pending enterprise and regulatory reform bill due to the controversy they created.

Critics claimed that his recommendations would weaken employee protections and lead to an increased number of unjustified redundancies.
 

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