HR magazine breaks down what HR professionals need to know from chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement.
Less than 2% of UK employers will pay the apprenticeship levy, which was announced in the summer budget. The levy, due to come into effect in April 2017, will be 0.5% of an employer’s wage bill, and a £15,000 allowance will mean that the levy will only be paid on employers’ pay bills over £3 million.
Discussing the levy, Osborne said businesses “will get out what they put in”. He also revealed the creation of a body to set standards to ensure apprentices are gaining the skills businesses need.
Petra Wilton, director of strategy and external affairs for the Chartered Management Institute, said these measures might result in “some grumbling in boardrooms”, but called for an end to "apprenticeship snobbery" about "new routes into professional careers".
Cisco UK&I CEO Phil Smith said although most businesses "understand the aim of the levy", the government must lend its support "to ensure that the apprenticeships it spawns are of the highest quality, targeted effectively, and benefit the whole economy".
He added: "In particular, digital and STEM [science, technology, engineering and maths] skills have to be much more widely embedded into every company in the UK."
From April 2016 the basic state pension will rise to £119.30 per week. This is an increase of £3.35 from the current rate, and will be the highest real terms increase to the state pension for 15 years.
Osborne spoke of a "devolution revolution" that includes councils being able to add 2% to council tax to pay towards social care in their areas, and the ability for councils to keep the money from business rates for spending on local services. Councils will also be able to raise or cut business rates as they see fit.
NHS England will receive £10 billion more a year in real terms by 2020 than in 2014-15. This will fund 800,000 more operations and treatments, 5.5 million more outpatient appointments and 2 million more diagnostic tests.
The cap on training places for student nurses is to be lifted, with the goal of increasing numbers by 10,000. Student nurses will also receive loans instead of grants.
An additional £600 million will be provided for mental health treatments, an area that Osborne said had been "neglected".
- There will be no cuts to the police budget.
- The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills faces a budget cut of 17%, and the Department for Work and Pensions will have its budget cut by 14%.
- The new 30 hours of free childcare for working parents is to be implemented for those working 16 hours or more a week.
- Every individual and small business must have a digital tax account by 2020.