Spending review | Sunak promises focus on 'good jobs'

    Updated 12:00pm

    Later today, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is predicted to set out a £4.3bn plan to tackle the threat of mass unemployment sparked by the ongoing pandemic.

    According to Financial Times analysis, Sunak will tell MPs that his number one priority will be to protect jobs and livelihoods.

    This is despite The Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecasts showing unsustainable public finances.

    Forecasts show a hole of circa £40bn in the finances that will need to be filled by higher taxes or a strong recovery.

    Sunak has publicly stated he does not wish to return to ‘austerity’ but plans to invest in capital projects to help save or boost employment.

    Currently, the unemployment rate is 4.8% with redundancies rocketing 314,000 in the three months to September.

    These include building roads and houses through green energy schemes.

    Updated 12:50pm

    Economy contracts

     As predicted, Sunak states that he is prioritising jobs and businesse, emphasising that £280bn of public money is avaliable during the pandemic.

    He does emphasise the the economy will contract by 11.3% this year - but should grow 5.5% next year.

    However, the recovery won't properly kick in till the end of 2022.

    Updated 13:15pm

    Borrowing soars

    Government will borrow £394bn this year - 19% of GDP. This is highest ever level of borrowing in peactime.

    Sunak also promises that people on low pay will get a pay rise. Those earning less than £24,000 will get a pay rise of £250. Doctors and nurses will also get pay rises. However most of the public sector will see pay rises pause.

    Living wage will also rise by 2.2%, benefiting 2m people.

    Sunak adds that good jobs are most rewarding and sustaining path to prosperity.

    Updated 13:30pm

    'Focus on those missing out'

    Justin Small, CEO andFounder of The Future Strategy Club, commented that he hopes the Chancellor will also focus on contractors and freelancers.

    “As well as this employment scheme, support needs to continue for freelancers, self-employed and consultants alike as we head into 2021 and beyond. Particularly in sectors like the creative industries, which is worth around £111.7bn, people need to be encouraged and supported to enter these sectors to rebuild the industry, create real value in the market and get these parts of the economy moving again."

    Updated 14:30pm

    ‘Now is the time for action’

    Following the Chancellor’s announcement to make the apprenticeship levy more flexible for businesses to utilise, Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), shared concerns that similar promises like this have been made in the past, adding that action is needed now.

    “We have had promises before. Now it is time for action,” he said. “The levy must be broadened so temporary workers can access high-quality, shorter training courses – the kind that are needed now to help people transition into growing industries and support the Government's ambitions for regional infrastructure. Local recruiters who know the labour market will be essential to these plans.

    While the unemployment rate continues to be high, Carberry is hopeful that employment will improve as the time goes on, especially now with the added assistance from the Chancellor.

    “Unemployment is high but there are opportunities out there. As our JobsOutlook report today shows, businesses are planning to hire and are relying more on temporary workers to get them through the current uncertainty. Recruiters are ready to play their part and make this recovery happen,” he concluded.

    Exclusion for self-employed

    While much support has been announced for employed individuals, concerns have once again grown for self-employed. Research carried out in September this year by insurance specialist for freelancers and self-employed, Qdos, found that 65% view the Government COVID-19 support available as ‘inadequate’ and so far 70% have used over £20,000 of savings to get by.

    Qdos’ CEO, Seb Maley, also added that Rishi Sunak “didn’t even acknowledge the gaps in the coronavirus support in his speech”, alluding to the fact that more support was needed for those self-employed in the UK.

    He continued: “I find it remarkable that the Government continues to ignore calls to provide millions of freelancers and small business owners with the support they clearly need. The Spending Review marked a golden opportunity to plug the gaping holes in the support packages, which continue to destroy the livelihoods of some of the UK’s most dynamic and important workers.”

    Updated 16:35pm

    Call for investment in skills development and support for job seekers

    Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy for the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, responded to the Chancellor's Spending Review to note that there is a skills development gap in the review.

    “The big gap in the Chancellor’s announcement was on investment in skills. The Government’s ambition and level of investment in this area fails to do enough in the current crisis. Greater investment in skills will be crucial in tackling the UK’s poor workplace productivity performance.

    “It would help equip people for changing job opportunities, give businesses the skills they need to survive and grow, support wage growth and help the economy recover lost ground as quickly as possible.”