Clearview National April 2017 - Issue 185 - Page 115

BUSINESSNEWS THOUGHTS IN THE INDUSTRY Ben Brocklesby, Director at Origin There were no major shocks in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Spring Budget, especially for the manufacturing industry. I do think, once again, it was a positive statement of intent from the government. It shows the UK economy is on the mend, which is fantastic for a family-run business like Origin. We were thrilled to see that the government is planning to introduce a series of qualifications known as T-Levels. Chancellor Hammond announced that there would be an additional £500 million a year given to technical and vocational education, designed to be more relevant to employers’ needs. This is music to our ears. Ever since we hosted our ‘Homes of the Future’ roundtable in 2015, we have been calling for the government to start encouraging fresh blood into the construction industry. This will fill the skills gap that is being created as the older generation retire. The introduction of T-Levels, which will see the number of hours’ training for 16- to 19-year-old students increase by more than 50 per cent, will go a long way to correcting this issue. It will also make sure workers in the manufacturing and engineering sector are work-ready once they qualify. As we prepare for a future outside of the EU, it is heartening to see the government looking to build from within. As always, Origin will continue as usual, relying on the product quality and the unbeatable service we provide, as well as unrivalled lead times on our systems. Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General “This is a breakthrough Budget for skills. There has never been a more important time for the UK to sit at the global top table of technical education for young people. Firms will be looking for ongoing partnership with the government as they try to make the Apprenticeship Levy work. However, with inflation rising and the cumulative burden weighing on businesses’ shoulders, limited relief for firms hit hard by business rates falls short. Firms are wholly committed to the health and wellbeing of their people, and are pleased to see an increase in spending on social care. Businesses will be pleased to see the Chancellor’s continued watchful eye on getting the deficit down and avoiding surprises.” On technical education, Carolyn said, “Firms are delighted by the Chancellor’s announcement, as the number of teaching hours for technical subjects is fundamental to delivering world class training for our young people in every part of the UK. “With the majority of people who will be working in 2030 already in the workforce now, the focus on adult skills provision will put this type of training on the right path to major and necessary improvement.” Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB “The Chancellor clearly understands that the UK won’t address the productivity challenge unless we rethink our approach to technical and vocational education. T-Levels could be the answer if they genuinely rival A-Levels in the eyes of parents, teachers and young people. UK society has been guilty of putting too much emphasis on the academic route – this has made it more difficult for vital sectors like construction and house building to attract the talented people we need. In construction, we are suffering from a severe skills shortage and this is likely to worsen once we leave the EU and no longer have easy access to European labour. This £500 million funding announced today for T-Levels is therefore a welcome and much-needed boost.” Berry concluded: “The government has made the right decision to row back on its plan to hike up National Insurance Contributions for the self- employed. At a time when we need to do everything we can to ensure economic stability, this would have been a destabilising tax increase, which would have hit large numbers of tradespeople on quite modest incomes. That would have felt very unfair and would have been in danger of undermining the entrepreneurial spirit Britain will need to rely on as we approach the economic uncertainty of Brexit.” www.gov.uk/government/ speeches/spring-budget-2017- philip-hammonds-speech C L E A RV I E W-U K . C O M » A P R 2017 » 115