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Budget 2021: Agency group sees missed opportunities
by Susie Hughes at 10:55 08/11/21 (Political News)
Agency trade body, APSco, has examined what the Chancellor didn't say in his recent Budget and the missed opportunities.
While welcoming some of the initiatives to help the UK 'build back better', the group reflects on on what more could have been done.

It cites:

  • the lack of a viable and attractive entry route to attract highly-skilled independent professionals and the self-employed into the country;
  • the need for a more balanced and fairer training system, including independent professionals;
  • the lack of further investment in a Single Enforcement Body for employment rights.

Tania Bowers, Legal Counsel and Head of Public Policy at APSCo said:

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“Leaked reports ahead of the Chancellor’s Budget and Spending Review prepared us for a skills-focused announcement. While Rishi Sunak certainly outlined a number of initiatives to help the UK ‘level up’ and ‘build back better’, there are a number of critical skills plans that have been missed out of the Budget.

Visas
“The announcement of the Scale up Visa to help fast growing businesses to better attract international talent and the planned launch of the Global Talent Network to help entice talented individuals to the UK in key science and technology sectors is a welcome move in a talent short market.

"However, what is still missing is a viable and attractive entry route for highly-skilled independent professionals and the self-employed who will play a significant role in helping the country as the economy continues to recover.

Training
“While we welcome the news of further funding for apprenticeships and lifelong learning for adults to support the UK’s skills development, it was disappointing to once again see little detail on how this funding will be channelled.

"As we’ve mentioned before, apprenticeship levies are remaining unused, while the likes of independent professionals go without access to training. We urge the Government to redefine how apprenticeship funding is being utilised and ensure that fair access to training and development is provided to all of the UK’s workforce, no matter how they are employed.

Single Enforcement Body
“We were also disappointed to not hear of any further spending for BEIS to fund the Single Enforcement Body in the Chancellor’s announcement.

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“For the recruitment sector there was little in the Chancellor's speech that adds to the March Budget and previous announcements on the Plan for Jobs which have already mentioned investment in apprenticeships, T levels and Levelling Up. Although staffing companies may benefit from the changes to business tax rates, it will not compensate for the NHS and social care levy impact.

“APSCo’s STEM members will be pleased to hear of the Government’s commitment to investment and tax reliefs in research and development over this Parliament as this will generate growth and jobs. This follows our request in our submission to HM Treasury to invest in high-tech hubs to support new digital skills and technologies.

“Recruitment businesses in Clinical and Healthcare, Teaching and Social Work will also be pleased with the continuing commitment to public sector spending, such as investment in 50,000 nurses. However, overall, there was very little ‘new’ information in the Chancellor’s announcements today.”


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