With the release of the Spring Statement to Parliament this week, the general feeling is surprisingly positive. According to the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR), the economy is predicted to grow 1.5% over the next year.
In terms of employment, the Chancellor was happy to report that it has increased by three-million since 2010 and the employment rate is at an almost 40-year low.
The OBR also predicts there will be over half a million more people in work by 2022. Couple this with a wage rise due to a fall in inflation and you have a very positive outlook. However, this is just predictions and at present, the uncertainty around Brexit could still change everything.
The focus on education and skills, including additional funding for construction skills and T-level preparation, definitely shows promise. In response to this, Tom Hadley, the director of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) stated:
“We will continue to push for the Apprenticeship Levy to evolve into a broader training levy that recruiters can use to boost skills and progression of temporary and contract workers on their books.”
Many in the recruitment industry, including myself, were worried about the changes to the IR35, particularly in the private sector, as there are far too many unknowns. Hadley noted that currently the IR35 “was implemented badly and the employment status for tax tool is still not up to scratch,”.
The chancellor finally announced an extra £80 million to be released to help small businesses recruit apprentices. At first glance, the sounded fantastic, however later, a treasury spokesperson clarified (very bluntly):
“It is not a new funding announcement. There were no new funding announcements in the spring statement,”.
The spokesperson continued to explain that:
“It is from the existing DfE apprenticeship budget. I guess today will be the first time it has been publicly announced in terms of where the money will be allocated, but it is funding that is awarded to providers to deliver training to businesses that don’t pay the apprenticeship levy.”
Not quite what was conveyed in the initial announcement, but a positive step for young people seeking employment.
Overall, the Spring Statement enjoyed more positive messages about the job market than many expected, but this upward increase is in line with the growth of DB Charles, as we are successfully placing candidates and an ever-increasing rate.