No review into workers' rights, says UK business minister

·1 min read
Newly appointed Britain's Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng, is seen outside Downing Street in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will no longer hold a review into workers' rights, business minister Kwasi Kwarteng said, reiterating that the government will not water down employment protections but instead will look at raising them post-Brexit.

Earlier this month, his department rejected a media report that it was proposing changes focused on ending the 48-year working week, rules around rest breaks and not including overtime pay when calculating some holiday entitlements.

Some opposition lawmakers say they fear that Britain's departure from the European Union will allow the government to rip up labour and environmental protections, part of what critics say is the government's plan to deregulate.

The government denies the charge.

Speaking to ITV's Peston programme late on Wednesday, Kwarteng said: "The review is no longer happening within BEIS (the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy). I have made it very, very clear to officials in the department that we're not interested in watering down workers' rights."

"I've said repeatedly that Brexit gives us the opportunity to have higher standards, a higher growth economy."

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Costas Pitas)