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Mr Dhesi makes some important points. It’s absolutely true that we need to improve the ability of SMEs to access apprenticeships. One of the big challenges for all businesses – and SMEs in particular – is navigating the complexity of the rules and regulations which run to hundreds of pages. However, we should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. The levy has encouraged more employers to take apprenticeships seriously and education providers have stepped up their engagement with businesses to widen opportunity and plug skills gaps. Management apprenticeships, for example, have enabled SMEs to attract talent and benefit from high quality training that supports their business to be more effective and to grow. The best way that government can increase the take up of apprenticeships is to reduce bureaucracy and provide policy stability so that SMEs can get to grips with the rules and start benefiting from the huge potential the programme can offer.
More detail about CMI’s policy recommendations on apprenticeships and the levy can be found in our Budget Submission.
IPSE congratulates Rishi Sunak on his elevation to the position of Chancellor of the Exchequer. We note in his 2016 CPS report The Free Ports Opportunity he wrote: “The only way to fund world-class public services and outstanding infrastructure is to encourage the millions of British businesses that create the wealth of the nation – especially small businesses, family firms and the self-employed.” IPSE strongly agrees with this statement and would urge the new Chancellor to show his intent by immediately announcing a halt to the introduction of the new rules on IR35 in the private sector and having a fundamental review of small business taxation – to ensure it can create the wealth that Mr Sunak is talking about.
National Federation of Builders extend congratulations to Rishi Sunak on his appointment as Chancellor
We would like to extend our congratulations to Rishi Sunak on his appointment as Chancellor. Changes to the operation of the department, which will see number 10 and number 11 share one special advisor unit, will help the Prime Ministers ambitions to more easily be delivered.
Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB), commented: “The new chancellor has an opportunity to deliver on some of the Prime Ministers lofty ambitions but also create some legacies for himself. Previous chancellors failed to take late payment seriously enough and we hope Mr Sunak is able to make late payment a thing of the past.
Beresford continued, “Two of the UK’s greatest concerns are the housing crisis and climate emergency. The new chancellor could go a long way to solving both by investing in infrastructure, social housing and retrofit schemes on our old, leaky homes.”
The Labour leadership hopeful said the move would defuse the “ticking timebomb” of ballooning pension payouts facing the UK economy in years to come.
Under the radical proposal, current or former public sector employees with fewer than two years of pension rights built up would be allowed to access 75% of their cash as a lump sum immediately.
If it was successful, the new arrangement would then be made available to workers with up to 10 years of contributions.
Writing exclusively for PoliticsHome, Ms Thornberry said it was “a practical measure that starts to tackle a major long-term threat to the public finances, but at the same time puts money into the pockets of millions of working people on low-to-medium incomes”.
Ms Thornberry unveiled the idea as she launched a last-ditch bid to get through to the last round of the contest to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.
The Shadow Foreign Secretary currently has 30 Constituency Labour Party nominations, just three short of the total she needs before Friday’s deadline.
Outlining her proposal, the Islington South MP wrote: “At a time when the Tories are taking reckless risks with our economy, I believe we can also be the party of credibility on the public finances, but married with radical solutions. Especially when it comes to the ticking time-bomb of the pension payouts eventually due to millions of people in our country who’ve worked for short or longer periods in the public sector over recent decades.
“One 2017 estimate put the level of all existing unfunded public sector pension liabilities at £1.7 trillion, about the same as the total value of London’s housing stock. Paying out those pensions currently costs £40 billion per year, the same as we spend on defence.”
Ms Thorberry went on: “So what I’d do is simple. I’d say to every former public sector worker with fewer than two years of pension rights built up, you can have 75% of your money now as a lump-sum, or you can wait until you retire and get the full amount. It’s entirely your choice.
“If that scheme is popular, we’d move to four years of service, then six, eight and 10 by the end of the Parliament. And at every stage, current public sector workers could take the same offer in relation to that equivalent period of their service, which might make all the difference when paying off a loan, or other short-term costs.”
Ms Thornberry said the scheme would need to be “tax neutral”, meaning no one who signed up to it could gain a tax advantage over other workers.
She added: “This scheme obviously comes at a short-term cost, which would have to be funded through borrowing, but there are two points.
“First, there is no better time to borrow given the historic lows in interest rates. And second, even if it mean an increase in short-term borrowing, the credit agencies, investment firms and others will all see that it puts Britain on a much sounder footing in terms of our long-term fiscal health.
“We would therefore have a practical measure, that starts to tackle a major long-term threat to the public finances, but at the same time puts money into the pockets of millions of working people on low-to-medium incomes, at a time when the economy is slowing down.”
Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy have already made it onto the ballot paper in the leadership contest.
The winner will be announced at a special conference on 4 April.
London, 18 February 2020: Life as a freelancer or contractor gives people the freedom to do work they love, but it is not for the fainthearted. Managing a fluctuating and, at times unpredictable, income is a major cause of stress for many.
Nine out of ten freelance workers worry about their financial well-being due to their irregular incomes, according to a poll by IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed.
Half confess to suffering from ‘stress or anxiety’ and 41% admit they are too cash-strapped to take time off. That’s why Starling Bank and IPSE have joined forces to help freelancers insulate themselves against problems linked to uncertain cash flow.
Working together throughout 2020 on a joint programme of policy, research and events, Starling and IPSE aim to raise awareness about and support freelancers with the challenge of financial planning.
Suneeta Johal, Head of Commercial Development at IPSE, said: “This is an extremely exciting new partnership for us. Good financial planning can be a challenge for anyone, but for freelancers with fluctuating incomes, it can be even worse. As the freelance workforce continues to grow, this will become an ever-more pressing issue. With Starling, we are going to not only raise awareness about this vital issue, but also find new ways to tackle it and support the growing freelance community.”
Anne Boden, founder and chief executive of Starling Bank said: “Freelancers and contractors are an important and integral part of the economy and offer services that companies need to survive. At Starling we think of them as entrepreneurs and want to support them in every way possible, and that includes listening to their needs so we can design and deliver better banking services. We are delighted to be partnering with IPSE.”