ARC comments on the chancellor’s budget

Commenting on the latest budget statement, Adrian Marlowe, Chairman of the Association, said: “The Chancellor’s statement on 16th March is largely to be welcomed. In particular we welcome all the measures to bring more people into work, whether younger or older, not only given the scale of the labour shortages in the UK but also for our collective social well being. This should benefit the employment sector as well as those currently out of work.

“Alongside this any plan to get senior medical staff back into work can only help the NHS in its time of need. However we fear these measures will take time to become effective and so, in the absence of an immediate relaxation of right to work rules to allow more non UK workers to participate in our labour market, businesses in many sectors including child care will likely remain hampered by the limited availability of skilled and non skilled workers for a good time to come.

“We also welcome generally the measures to assist with the energy crisis as well as the long terms plans for energy supply which should create more jobs and provide for our future energy security. However it was disappointing that there was no mention of positive plans to end the rail strikes which cause so much disruption and significant loss of productivity to so many businesses, and in that respect we urge the government to do more to restore confidence in our rail network. Early solutions to these ongoing and painful issues we are sure would be welcomed by all and it is not clear what real advantage there is in delay. Surely the day to day loss and distress caused far outweighs the potential downside of early resolution.

“Additionally no announcement was made to address the failings of our current apprenticeship scheme despite the criticisms from many sources, an anomaly that if addressed could make it easier for many, particularly younger people, to get into meaningful work.”