Key No 10 figure pushed to end maternity leave

Steve Hilton, Cameron's strategy director, arrives at No 10
Steve Hilton, Cameron's strategy director, arrives at No 10. Photo:

By staff

David Cameron's chief 'blue skies' adviser proposed giving the struggling economy a boost by scrapping maternity leave, it has emerged.

Steve Hilton, the prime minister's strategy director, reportedly also proposed abolishing jobcentres and replacing hundreds of government press officers with a single blogger for each department.

Ending maternity leave would help female workers because the payment deters many employers from hiring women in the first place, Mr Hilton is thought to have argued.

"Some of his ideas are great but a lot of time is spent at an official level trying to deconstruct his maddest thoughts," a Whitehall insider told the Financial Times newspaper.

When in opposition Mr Hilton proposed developing technology which would make Britain sunnier by dispersing its clouds.

Since entering government it appears he has not reined in his proposals. Ideas which did not make the 'red tape' paper due out later today also include defying European labour laws on temporary workers and suspending all consumer rights legislation.

Mr Hilton is a key figure behind the 'big society', the prime minister's flagship idea which Downing Street hopes will transform Britain.


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