§ Mr. Bercow
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment his Department has made of the likely impact on British competitiveness of the Working Time Directive. 
§ Mr. Ian McCartney
[holding answer 28 October 1998]: An assessment of costs and benefits of the Working Time Directive was made, a copy of which is held in the Library of the House.
Any cost of implementing the Regulations needs to be compared with the benefits of helping to combat stress and absenteeism by ensuring workers receive proper rest. The CBI estimate up to £25 billion was lost in 1996 due to absenteeism. This unregulated absenteeism can damage the productivity of the workforce and the competitiveness of British industry.369W