Business secretary Vince Cable has labelled employment rights reforms outlined in a leaked government-commissioned report as “complete nonsense”.

The controversial Beecroft Report, compiled at the request of the government by venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft, looks into a number of ways employment law ‘red tape’ can be scaled back to help stimulate business growth.

It was intended to be fully published for the first time later this week, but details of the proposed reforms have already emerged after a copy of the report was obtained by the Daily Telegraph.

Among the report’s recommendations are a number of measures critics say could hamper employment equality and lead to employers being able to get away with discrimination in the workplace.

One of the more divisive proposals is the introduction of so-called no fault dismissals, which would allow employers to sack unproductive staff with basic redundancy pay and notice, without the employee having the option to launch an unfair dismissal claim.

However, while it is thought to be likely the report will receive the backing of prime minister David Cameron and many Conservative MPs, the recommendations could cause a rift with their coalition partners the Liberal Democrats.

Writing in the Sun, senior Lib Dem and Mr Cable voiced strong opposition to Beecroft’s proposals.

“Some people think that if labour rights were stripped down to the most basic minimum, employers would start hiring and the economy would soar again. This is complete nonsense.”

He added: “British workers are an asset, not just a cost for company bosses. That is why I am opposed to the ideological zealots who want to encourage British firms to fire at will.”

Other recommendations made by Mr Beecroft include cutting the mandatory consultation period when companies want to make redundancies from 90 days to 30 days and a cap on loss of earnings compensation for employees who are unfairly dismissed.