01/01/2016 00:01 GMT | Updated 31/12/2016 05:12 GMT

Leaving EU 'Would Create Melting Pot Of Uncertainty'

Leaving the European Union would create a "melting pot of uncertainty" in Britain's workplaces, according to the head of the conciliation service.

Sir Brendan Barber, chairman of Acas, said much of this country's settled employment legislation and practice comes from the framework of agreed European law accumulated over decades.

The impact on workplaces of any decision to leave the EU in the forthcoming referendum will be "profound", Sir Brendan said in a new year's message.

He predicted a number of "momentous" changes for the world of work in 2016, including the new £7.20 an hour national living wage for adults from April, and preparations for an apprenticeship levy, to be introduced in 2017.

He said: "From Acas' perspective, more attention needs to focus on the quality of workplace relations as a central driver of business performance and innovation.

"To support that Acas will be launching, early in the new year, an accessible productivity toolkit to help businesses assess their strategies for boosting workplace performance.

"Britain's economy, while showing signs of recovery, will continue to be buffeted by changing pressures from the global economy.

"Nearer to home continuing pay restraint across the public sector may also see challenging disputes in hard pressed public services."

He added that 2016 could be the year when Britain's relationship with Europe is determined, predicting a melting pot of uncertainty if the referendum returns a vote to leave.