No 10 Adviser Attacks 'Socialist' Vince Cable
A Downing Street adviser has called Business Secretary Vince Cable a "socialist" who "appears to do very little to support business".
Venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft, who wrote a report for Number Ten calling for proposals to make it easier to fire workers, also declared that the Lib Dems are holding back the Tories.
He said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is "always threatening to go nuclear" whenever he does not get his way in the coalition.
And he claimed the Government's failure to push through his radical reform of employment laws will cost the economy at least £50bn, or 5% in terms of growth.
The entrepreneur's report, which outlined plans to make it easier to sack poor performers, has exposed deep tensions in the coalition.
Mr Cable dismissed the idea of a compensated, no-fault dismissal scheme as "complete nonsense" but many Tories had backed the plans.
Mr Beecroft, in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, said the senior Lib Dem's objections were "ideological not economic".
"I think he is a socialist who found a home in the Lib Dems, so he's one of the left. I think people find it very odd that he's in charge of business and yet appears to do very little to support business,"he said.
He also said that the Conservatives are being "hugely held back by the Lib Dems" and suggested the Tories needed to stand up to their coalition partners.
"I think you could put together a bunch of suggestions out of the report, as a coherent programme, that would say, you know, we are tackling the issues that business has with employment law but the Lib Dems will have none of it," he said.
"Nick Clegg is always threatening to go nuclear and dissolve the whole thing if he doesn't get his way with this, that and the other.
"Which you'd think actually must be a hollow threat... Therefore, why can't the Government be more robust? I don't know what the answer is. But it is disappointing."
Mr Beecroft said David Cameron and the Tories had supported the plans but that they became part of a coalition trade-off.
"I'm talking about Steve Hilton, that group and they assured me that David Cameron wanted to do the whole thing. Whether that's right or not I'm not sure but that was the strong impression I got," he said.
"I've been in meetings with Oliver Letwin and Ed Davey, where Oliver Letwin was all for and Ed Davey was totally against.
"And then there was a large argument which I'm told ended up in the 'quad' [the core Coalition leaders of Mr Cameron, George Osborne, Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander] when they're sort of trading off one policy against the other."
Mr Beecroft's report called for compensation to be capped at £12,000 for employees removed under the new dismissal scheme, which he claimed would make it more acceptable to employers and limit tribunal claims.
Tory MPs have suggested the move would encourage businesses to hire workers by removing concerns they would not be able to afford to get rid of under-performing staff.
But in recent days, both Mr Cable and Mr Clegg have publicly denounced the measures.
Mr Clegg said on Tuesday: "I don't support them and I never have. I've not seen any evidence that creating industrial-scale insecurity amongst millions of workers is a way of securing new jobs.
"So far, there's just no evidence that in the highly flexible labour market that we have, comparatively speaking, for instilling greater insecurity and let's be blunt, fear, amongst workers, at a time of great economic anxiety as a way of fostering new employment."