Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Budget 2020: temporary measures welcome. REC response

Tom Hadley, Director of Policy at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said:

“Today’s budget gives a much-needed boost to businesses that are facing unprecedented pressure over Coronavirus. Measures aimed at small and medium businesses like 100% relief on business rates and refunding the Statutory Sick Pay bill for up to 14 days will help businesses address cashflow problems they are likely to encounter in the coming months. However, there appears to be little support for business of over 250 employees – this is likely to include temporary workers on the books of recruitment agencies.  

“As the Chancellor said, the measures that were announced are exceptional and temporary. But businesses are facing long-term challenges which Coronavirus have made even more acute. It’s disappointing to see the government is ploughing ahead with ill-conceived IR35 tax changes. Businesses don’t have time to prepare and now is completely the wrong time for a huge regulatory shake-up. The government must delay IR35 to April 2021 to give business time and space to focus on protecting their workforce during the current disruption.     

“Before Coronavirus, industries like healthcare, hospitality and logistics were facing damaging skills shortages. Shortages among medical staff will test the NHS as the country battles COVID19. Businesses need a long-term plan that focuses on building skills. The government should transform the Apprenticeship Levy so it can support training for temporary workers our economy relies on. Businesses need a negotiated exit from the EU and an immigration policy that addresses skills shortages at all pay and skill levels.”