The chancellor delivered his first Autumn budget this afternoon laying out his vision for an economy that is fit for the future. While the biggest announcements were around housing (good news for our construction members), there were a number of tax, skills and infrastructure related announcements relevant to the recruitment industry. Here’s our summary:
We are pleased that the government has heeded our calls to not rush through changes to the IR35 in the private sector and to have a broader consultation on non-compliance. We are also glad that government is looking at the impact IR35 has had on the public sector.
We are ready to represent the recruitment industry to improve these rules and protect the flexibility of our labour market and the wider economy. We will put our energy into making sure that the voice of our industry is heard during the consultation period.
Others points to note:
Skills and productivity
There was some good news on the skills and education front, though few surprises as the new funding commitments had been trailed in advance.
The chancellor committed to:
Our Future of jobs report highlighted the skills challenge faced by the UK and the need for additional funding and new approaches.
The chancellor also restated the government’s commitment to improving the UK’s lagging productivity. Investment in skills, infrastructure, new technologies and a new industrial strategy will be key to the government’s approach to tackling this.
We were pleased to see the chancellor say that the government will continue to work with employers on how the apprenticeship levy can be spent so that the levy works effectively and flexibly for industry. We look forward to working with the government on this.
National Minimum Wage
The chancellor confirmed that the government will accept all of the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations for National Minimum Wage rates to apply from April 2018.
With our jobs data showing declining business confidence we are glad the government have taken a cautious approach to National Living/Minimum Wage increases.
Health and social care
There was speculation that the government would increase the pay of nurses but there was no commitment to do this in the chancellor’s speech. He did say however that the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was in discussions with health unions on pay structure modernisation for Agenda for Change staff to improve recruitment and retention.
We will continue to call on the NHS to create an environment in which all staff are paid appropriately for the work they do, are made to feel valued, and receive the training, flexibility and support they need. This will be crucial in producing a workforce that is healthy, happy and able to deliver the best possible outcomes for patients.
You can read the budget statement in full here. We will continue to keep members up-to-date as details emerge via consultations and draft regulations.