BUDGET 2021: Analysis
Legal experts from law firm Weightmans give some insight into what the Chancellor's proposed measures mean for employment and sustainability.
Setting out the government's tax and spending plans for the year ahead, today the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced new measures to help business and jobs through the pandemic and to support the UK's long-term economic recovery.
Specialists at Weightmans had the following observations about the government's plans for tackling unemployment and sustainability:
Ben Daniel, Partner and Head of Employment, Pensions and Immigration at law firm Weightmans, said:
“Whilst we broadly knew what measures would be announced in the Budget today, the assurance from the Chancellor that the furlough scheme will be extended until the end of September will have been welcome news for businesses up and down the country.
“It is a clear sign that the Government recognises that businesses in some sectors of the economy have faced severe disruption, with some inactive for almost a year, and others badly hampered intermittently as a result of the various periods of lockdown.This has meant the shape of their long-term employment strategies and staff needs will largely remain unclear. This confirmation gives a much-needed window over the summer for firms to properly assess which of their roles remain viable and which will not, providing the opportunity to save jobs that would inevitably have otherwise been lost without this gradual withdrawal of furlough support.
“Similarly, the commitment to treble the cash incentive for businesses to recruit new apprentices is an important step in seeking to reinvigorate the UK’s economy, and creating new opportunities for growth and identifying career pathways for those who are entering the labour market. But due diligence must be the order of the day here. There is a responsibility for employers to focus on the long-term sustainability of the opportunities they create, rather than the immediate financial benefit. Anything that incentivises apprenticeships, and minimises financial impact of introducing them, is naturally a good thing, but it must also be used to enable sustainable job creation, protecting those individuals, many of whom are just setting off in their careers."
Nick Fothergill, Corporate Partner advising the energy sector at Weightmans, said:
“The Chancellor made it clear that his vision of the future was one underpinned by scientific excellence, green jobs, sustainability and innovation. Many will have expected his Budget speech to feature more of the measures that will take us there, but beyond the much-touted Infrastructure Bank and commitment to championing off-shore wind, the speech contained fewer announcements than some may have been expecting.
“It is therefore reassuring that the Red Book digs deeper into the specifics of how the UK will achieve the Chancellor’s vision. Key commitments include funding for a demonstration hydrogen hub at Holyhead, as well as funding for research to advance floating offshore wind, energy storage technology and the production of biomass fuels.
“The next step will be detailing the role the newly-formed Infrastructure Bank will play in advancing these initiatives to place the UK at the forefront of the sustainability agenda. Critically, one of the Bank’s core roles has been identified as supporting regional and local economic growth, and we hope to see this encompass giving local areas the tools to create green jobs and championing the next generation of skills. This holistic approach is key if the Chancellor’s hopes of the UK leading the green industrial revolution are to come to fruition.”