“To drive economic growth and raise living standards in the UK, we need to maximise the health and potential of the working-age population.”

Ben Willmott, Head of Policy, CIPD

In response to the Spring Budget Statement, the CIPD’s public policy experts have warned that the UK Government’s focus on boosting research and development in high-tech and green energy sectors is not enough to drive economic growth and boost living standards. 

Ahead of the budget, the CIPD called for a broader economic strategy spanning all sectors of the economy, including retail, hospitality, transport, logistics and social care. We submitted a series of policy recommendations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, focused on helping employers tackle skills and labour shortages.

The labour market has loosened over the last six months, but vacancy levels remain above pre-pandemic levels and many employers report ongoing skills shortages. Economic inactivity due to ill health is also exacerbating labour shortages,  and we were disappointed to see nothing in the Budget to tackle this.

“The National Insurance cut will be welcomed by many workers, but is unlikely to solve the UK’s labour market participation challenges. The factors affecting participation are much more complex.”

Ben Willmott, Head of Policy, CIPD

To address these challenges, the UK needs a greater focus on improving job quality and labour market participation, to maximise the health and potential of the working-age population. We’re also calling on the Government to take a broader approach to economic growth – with a much greater focus on boosting skills investment and productivity across all sectors in the UK.

Our top three recommendations for the Government are:

  1. Help small businesses improve their people management capabilities and skills investment by developing a high-quality, locally delivered business support service.
  2. Enable businesses to invest in the skills of their existing staff by reforming the apprenticeship levy into a more flexible training levy that would apply to other forms of accredited training and skills development.
  3. Support employee health and labour market participation by reforming and enhancing Statutory Sick Pay and improving access to occupational health services.

Mr Hunt...

Ben Willmott, the CIPD's head of public policy, tells PM magazine what we need to hear from the Chancellor in the Spring budget - in order to boost growth and raise living standards ahead of the next election.

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