On Monday 29 October the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond will deliver the year’s most important fiscal announcement- the Budget. Breaking with the Wednesday tradition, the Chancellor is expected to lay out a plan to reduce national debt, deliver public services and “build a stronger, more prosperous economy”.
With Brexit fast approaching anticipation over the content of this year’s budget is growing. We at the REC hope that the budget will deliver on the Prime Minister’s promise to “back business” by making sure the UK’s modern, entrepreneurial and flexible labour market is protected. Our three asks to the Chancellor are:
1. Delay the introduction of IR35 in the private sector. We at the REC fully support the government’s efforts to tackle non-compliance, after all non-compliance creates an uneven playing field. However IR35’s implementation in the public sector has been rife with problems and in times of uncertainty the last thing the economy needs is rushed or poorly designed reforms that could hamper productivity. The reforms in the private sector should be delay until 2020 at the earliest.
2. Broaden the Apprenticeship Levy into a training levy. The UK economy is in the midst of a skills shortage that is costing business more than £2bn a year. The apprenticeship levy represents a great opportunity to facilitate progression routes in key sectors such as social care- which REC members tell us there is a large candidate shortages for. The levy in its current format does not serve business need, in the first 10 months of operation just 8 per cent of levy funds were actually spent on training, leaving £1.28bn sitting in digital accounts. With some slight adjustments, the apprenticeship levy could be the answer to the country’s skills shortage.
3. Support career transitions. The world of work is fast evolving thanks to new technology, demographic changes and new business models. In order to keep up with this change government needs to invest in new ways of supporting individuals in disrupted sectors to scale up their job search. Recruiters have particular expertise in this area and the industry can be a valuable asset in moving this agenda forward. The REC has a formal partnership agreement with the Department for Work & Pensions which helps push innovative approaches forward.
The REC will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday 31 October to break down all the announcements from the budget, and share with members what it means for the recruitment industry in 2019 and beyond.