Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy for the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, has responded to the Chancellor’s Spending review. 

On skills development and support for jobseekers :

"The big gap in the Chancellor’s announcement was on investment in skills. The Government’s ambition and level of investment in this area fails to do enough in the current crisis. Greater investment in skills will be crucial in tackling the UK’s poor workplace productivity performance. It would help equip people for changing job opportunities, give businesses the skills they need to survive and grow, support wage growth and help the economy recover lost ground as quickly as possible. Given that apprenticeship numbers and investment in workplace training are both falling, the Government must consider making the Apprenticeship Levy more flexible. This would enable new employment opportunities through apprenticeships as well as boost the retraining or upskilling of existing staff. We welcome extra funding for the Restart programme to address spiralling unemployment. However, it is crucial that support for the long-term unemployed provides access to training for both the technical and transferrable skills that will enable people to easily move across roles and sectors."

On the National Living Wage: 

"The CIPD welcomes the government’s decision to accept the recommendation of the LPC to increase the NLW by 2.2% from next April and to lower the age threshold to 23. We believe that this decision helps protect both employee earnings and jobs in those sectors disproportionately affected by the pandemic."

On public sector pay freezes: 

"After a decade of pain, public sector pay had finally picked up at the start of 2020. Today’s announced pay freeze stands to disappoint millions of public sector workers. However, hopefully it will prove a temporary measure taken in the context of cuts to jobs and hours across the private sector and the massive level of Government support needed while we get through the pandemic and economic aftermath."

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