Sunday, June 16 2024

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The Good and The Not So Good

Response to the Chancellor’s spring budget has bene mixed, with some recruiters applauding his moves to enhance the general talent pool, and others criticising the apparent lack of movement on regulations around the flexible workforce.

Sheila Flavell CBE, COO of FDM Group said rising childcare costs place a huge strain on working parents and force many women to choose between pausing their careers or paying out to nannies and nursery fees. The Chancellor’s move on childcare costs, she said, “will empower women to continue and develop their careers alongside juggling family commitments, reducing the gender pay gap and driving economic growth.”

Ian Nicholas, global managing director of Reed, was positive about moves to encourage the over 50s into work: “What UK businesses need to focus on to hold onto the over 50s talent pool, and attract and retain them is their culture and support,” he said. “Our Ageing Workforce whitepaper found that 56% of businesses have no specific policies relating to the internal mobility of older workers and one-in-five workers over 40 have experienced age discrimination.

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“Older workers are a huge pool of talent with a wealth of experience on offer for businesses,” he said. “Companies need to put in place specific policies and benefits to attract them, as well as schemes such as returnerships. Measures such as learning and development opportunities, reduced hours or internal mobility policies will help attract and retain older workers.”

Matt Fryer, managing director of People2.0 company Brookson Group, said there was little surprise – and perhaps relief for some – that no targeted measures had been made in respect of the flexible labour market. However he added that the Government had missed the opportunity to tidy up some of the complications associated with the off-payroll rules. “There was no mention of umbrella company regulation, however, it is widely expected that this is something which will be progressed in the near future,” he said.

Dave Chaplin, CEO of tax compliance firm IR35 Shield was more scathing of the Chancellor’s reticence: “Today has reinforced that the Conservative Party is not championing the self-employed, having failed to respond to the widespread concerns about multiple flaws in the IR35 reforms legislation.

“The Conservative Government wants UK growth, but businesses are being constrained due to the legislative sludge created by the flawed Off-payroll IR35 reforms,” he said. “Structural flaws have long been identified by the National Audit Office, the Public Accounts Committee and the Treasury, but the so-called party of business has failed to act.”

Commenting specifically on tackling tax avoidance that was mentioned by the Chancellor, Crawford Temple, CEO of Professional Passport said: “It is disappointing that we have heard no proactive measures from the Chancellor in today’s budget to clamp down on tax avoidance. Opening up another consultation to discuss tax avoidance when they have sought the views of experts already is simply delaying any action.”

Temple went on to say the time for consultations was over and it was now a question of making policy. “There has been nothing in this Budget to indicate a real acceptance of the size of the problem and simply demonstrates the lack of real commitment and appetite that the Government has to tackle non-compliance and tax avoidance.”

Qdos CEO, Seb Maley, was also negative about the budget: “Childcare reform aside, anyone working for themselves has a right to be deeply disappointed by this Budget,” he said.

“The Chancellor completely ignored the IR35 legislation in his speech. This smacks of irony in a so-called back to work Budget. The government wants retirees to return to work but won’t address the issues plaguing IR35 reform. These tax changes forced many freelancers and contractors into early retirement, at a huge cost to the economy.

“Fix IR35 and retirees might be attracted back, solving skills shortages and boosting the economy,” Male concluded. “It’s a simple solution to what is a massive problem.”

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The Global Recruiter Newsdesk bringing you balanced journalism, accuracy, news and features for all involved in the business of recruitment from around the world

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