On 27 October 2021, the Chancellor delivered his Autumn 2021 Budget. Here are the key points of note for employers:
1. From 1 April 2022, the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage will increase by 6.6%.
The following rates (per hour) will apply;
- NLW for those over 23 will increase from £8.91 to £9.50.
- NMW for those aged 21 to 22 will increase from £8.36 to £9.18.
- NMW for those aged 18 to 20 will increase from £6.56 to £6.83.
- NMW for those aged under 18 will increase from £4.62 to £4.81.
- Apprentice Rate will increase from £4.30 to £4.81.
2. The government will increase apprenticeship funding to 2.7 billion by 2024-25.
It will continue to meet 95% of the apprenticeship training cost for employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy.
It also intends to deliver improvements to the apprenticeship system for employers such as:
- providing an enhanced recruitment service by May 2022 for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), helping them hire new apprentices, and
- supporting flexible apprenticeship training models to ensure that apprenticeship training continues to meet the needs of employers.
By April 2022, the government will consider changes aimed at giving employers more choice over how the apprenticeship training is delivered and streamlining the existing additional employer support payments so that they go directly to employers
The government will also extend its £3,000 apprentice hiring incentive for employers until 31 January 2022.
3. There will be increased funding given to schemes aimed at boosting opportunities for people to get back into work, to upskill and retrain
Particular support is to be given to workers leaving the furlough scheme, the unemployed aged over 50, the lowest paid and young people.
This includes increasing access to funding for high-demand Level 3 courses, expanding access to Skills Bootcamps and the extension of the Kickstart Scheme and Youth offer.
News about Covid Restrictions
The government have also confirmed that, whilst it was monitoring the data regarding Covid-19 infections closely, it would only introduce further measures should Covid 19 cause a rise in hospitalisations that would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
Details of these further measures were set out in the government’s “COVID-19 Response: Autumn and Winter Plan” that was published in September 2021.
This plan describes how, through use of Plans A and B, it intends to address the challenges that may be posed by COVID-19 over the autumn and winter period.
Plan B – which would only be enacted if the data suggests further measures are necessary to protect the NHS – includes implementing the following measures:
- Communicating clearly and urgently to the public that the level of risk has increased, and with it the need to behave more cautiously.
- Introducing mandatory vaccine-only COVID-status certification in certain settings.
- Legally mandating face coverings in certain settings (which will be decided at the time).
- Asking people to work from home if they can, for a limited period.