Several aspects of the October budget had made the headlines prior to today’s announcement, but we tuned in to Chancellor Rishi Sunak briefing the House of Commons to confirm and summarise the points that employers need to know.
Increase to the National Living Wage (NLW)
Following recommendations from the independent Low Pay Commission, the National Living Wage will increase for 23-year-olds and above from April next year.
The 6.6% increase will see the hourly rate rise from £8.91 to £9.50.
Today’s budget also revealed an end to the public sector pay freeze and a reduction in the Universal Credit taper from 63 to 55%.
Investment in lifelong learning
A £3.8 billion investment has been set aside for education, skills, and lifelong learning, including a revamp for colleges and £550m towards developing adult skills through the Skills Fund.
Highlighting that a person with poor numeracy skills is twice as likely to be unemployed, the Chancellor revealed plans for a UK-wide adult maths programme.
Apprenticeships and training will also receive a significant increase in funding.
New Scale-Up visa
A new Scale-Up visa to be launched next year is expected to make it quicker and easier for fast-growing businesses to recruit highly skilled individuals from overseas.
Additionally, a new Global Talent Network will focus on attracting skilled workers in sectors such as science and tech in a bid to boost innovation in the UK.
Help for hospitality
Businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure sectors including pubs, music venues, cinemas, restaurants, hotels, theatres, and gyms, will benefit from a 50% discount on business rates for one year.
Eligible businesses can claim a discount on their bills of 50%, up to a maximum of £110,000.
Prompted by the Federation of Small Businesses and the British Property Foundation, tax relief was also announced to encourage businesses to adopt green technologies, such as solar panels.
HR Support for your business
If today’s announcement and related headlines have raised questions about payroll, work visas, or skills development in your business, get in touch with your local HR Dept.