The Chancellors budget was revealed on 15 March 2023, which predominantly featured support for getting Britain ‘back to work’.
The budget outlined that ‘there are currently 7 million adults of working age who are not in work’ and his budget announced ways to ‘remove the barriers that stop people from working’. The key aims around his budget will be to help invigorate the recruitment market after a significantly difficult period for lots of employers.
The budget highlights are:
- A new ‘Universal Support’ scheme providing funding in England and Wales of up to £4,000 per person invested to support 50,000 people per year with the aim of finding ‘suitable roles to cater for their needs’. This is on top of the whitepaper which the Department for Work and Pensions is considering on reforms to the disability benefits system. Employers should consider their approach to being a Disability friendly workplace and look to be ‘accessible and inclusive’ for all, which would go beyond the current ‘reasonable adjustment’ provisions. For some employers it may be possible to use ‘positive action’ to encourage workers with disabilities into the workplace and the Universal Support scheme is intended for this purpose.
- A £406 million plan to ‘tackle health issues keeping people out of work’. Mental health which is prevalent at the moment and more so since the pandemic, would be a focus, along with other key health conditions that prevent employees from being at work for long periods.
- A new apprenticeship scheme for the over 50’s which will support those in this age category with returning to the workplace and offer reduced training length with flexibility and consideration of the experience held. A large number of workers over the age of 50 lost their jobs during the pandemic and this budget announcement seeks to provide support for those that want to get back into the workplace and learn new skills.
- A lowering of the pensions tax to keep the highly skilled in work for longer. This would mean an increase in the pension tax-free allowance from £40,000 to £60,000. This is on top of the plans to remove the lifetime allowance charges again to encourage skilled employees to stay in work longer.
- Improvements to the childcare provisions for parents, in providing 15 hours of free childcare for working parents of children of two-year-olds from April 2024 and an extension of this provision from September 2024, for parents of children aged nine months to three years. This will mean working parents are supported with the ever-increasing costs of childcare and giving them the ability to return to the workplace sooner should they choose to do so.
- A rise in corporation tax from 19% to 25% for companies with more than £250k in profits in April 2023.
Source: People Management – Spring budget 2023: six key points for employers