REC response to Autumn Statement 2023
Commenting on today’s Autumn Statement 2023, Neil Carberry, REC Chief Executive, said:
“The Chancellor has taken some significant pro-business steps today, but the downgraded growth forecasts prepared by the OBR show the scale of the challenge he faces. We need to get the UK powering on all its cylinders to really make progress. And we should remember that – despite today’s news – we are still heading for a post-war high on the tax burden over the next few years.
“Reducing employees’ National Insurance is a great way to make work pay – and we also welcome the extension of the Restart programme and reform of fit notes as these steps will help ensure that we make the most of the UK’s labour force. Extending Restart was a key REC aim – it is a programme that effectively harnesses joint working between public and private sectors to get people into work.
“Making full expensing permanent is also great news for business and will drive investment – but only in the sectors that can really benefit from it. Services firms – the bulk of the economy – benefit far less. That’s why freezing the small business multiplier on business rates was an important step, especially when the substantial rise in the minimum wage will stretch many firms after a year of low growth and higher wages already. Changes to national insurance for the self-employed will help, too.
“By delivering real terms cuts in public investment, the Chancellor has put the ball into the private sector’s court. It is for business to drive growth, we agree. But the public sector must provide a framework. We saw some of that today in the support and incentives on offer – but it does not yet add up to the industrial strategy the country really needs. And in some areas – like skills – the investments announced today were woefully inadequate. Really engaging with firms on apprenticeship levy reform is long overdue.”
Notes to editors:
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Find out more about the Recruitment & Employment Confederation at www.rec.uk.com.
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