Responding to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement, Ben Willmott, head of public policy for the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said:
“The Government must broaden its plans for growth beyond a narrow focus on science and technology towards supporting investment in people and skills across the economy.
“Plans to boost investment in R&D and high-tech industries are welcome, but these measures will benefit relatively few employers in specific sectors and fail to stimulate the innovation and adoption of technology and better people management practices we need across all sectors.
“Similarly, the £50m investment to increase apprenticeship provision in key sectors is welcome but will be undermined by the continued failure to reform the failing Apprenticeship Levy, which has acted to reduce apprenticeship starts across the economy. The Apprenticeship Levy will continue to act as a brake on employer investment in Apprenticeships and skills until it is reformed into a more flexible training levy.”
On welfare reform proposals:
“Any measures designed to incentivise people into employment must be proportionate and not undermine people’s wellbeing and ability to find suitable and sustainable work. The success of plans for welfare reform to support people with disabilities and long-term health conditions into employment will depend on whether there is enough tailored and bespoke support available.”
“The creation of more flexible jobs will also be crucial in helping people get into and stay in employment, and help employers address ongoing skills shortages.”
Keeping people in employment:
“Proposals to reform the fit note to focus on supporting treatment rather than time off are positive, but there is also a need to reform and enhance Statutory Sick Pay and improve access to occupational health support for SMEs if we want to prevent more people from falling out of employment.”
On increases to the National Living Wage:
“While the new rates will be welcomed by workers grappling with the cost-of-living crisis, many employers could struggle to afford this. To meet this additional cost expectation many businesses will need to boost productivity. This highlights the importance of the Government working with employers to develop policies and support that can help raise business investment in the skills, people management capability and technology needed to improve productivity, especially in low-skill and low-wage sectors.