Published byREC

Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) responds to Spring Budget

Responding to today’s Spring Budget, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) Chief Executive Neil Carberry, said:

“If the Chancellor’s goal was to stimulate investment and drive per person growth, he hit the post.

“There were plenty of initiatives in the Budget today that business will welcome. From AI skills support in professional services, to growth support on finance for small businesses and a patchwork of sectoral measures. There were many sensible steps. But taken together – they didn’t add up to the industrial and workforce strategy we really need.

“It beggars belief that the Chancellor made GDP per capita, driven by the domestic workforce, a core goal of his speech but had nothing to say about the skills system beyond a few specific pots of spending and pieces of devolution. Further focus on childcare will be welcomed by employers all over the country, though.   

“Cutting employee National Insurance is the right call when addressing personal taxation, because it is targeted on workers and particularly helps the low paid. REC members agree with the Chancellor that taxes on labour are too high – but would have welcomed the acknowledgement that this is also true for businesses, many of whom are really struggling with a cauldron of rising costs. From a minimum wage that has risen 20% in two years to inflation and higher business taxes – there needed to be more to really get investment going.”

On temporary staffing and the NHS, Neil added:

“Healthcare agencies keep the NHS open. But on-framework provision has been made unsustainable over the past few years by poor management and unrealistic cost assumptions. You can’t freeze wages for temporary nurses through a pandemic and inflation spike – but that is what this government tried to do, super-charging higher cost off-framework provision and hidden high-cost Bank provision.

“Hopefully, today is the start of a discussion where agencies can finally be allowed to help the NHS reduce cost and improve the standards of care – but that requires a true partnership. We are ready to help. The deadline the government has set for ending off-framework this summer is unrealistic and would likely damage the quality of care and increase waiting lists.”