Economy

AAT welcomes Chancellor’s summer economic update

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) has welcomed chancellor Rishi Sunak’s summer economic update.

Yesterday, Sunak unveiled a new scheme to pay companies £1,000 bonus per employee for those they keep on until January on part pay.

Sunak said if employers bring back all nine million people who have been furloughed, this will be a “£9bn policy to retain people in work”. He added that avoiding job losses is the “most urgent” challenge the country now faces, adding that the priority is to “get as many people as possible from furlough back to their jobs”.

In response, Adam Harper, director of strategy and professional standards at AAT, said the needs to create jobs, stimulate spending and engender confidence amongst individuals and businesses are “crucial ingredients in an economic recovery”.

He added that the chancellor has outlined measures that are designed to protect existing employment roles, as well as creating new jobs and encouraging spend in sectors amongst those worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

It comes after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported  in June that the number of people out of work and claiming work-related benefits in the UK had jumped by 23% to 2.8 million.

The AAT also welcomed the proposals to support apprenticeships by offering businesses £2,000 for each apprentice they take on, with £1,500 being offered to firms taking on apprentices over 25, even if it is only for a limited six-month period.

Harper said it is clear that “more funding for reskilling or upskilling of adults will also need to be found to cope with the challenges that lie ahead”.

The AAT has “long been calling for a reformed training and skills levy”, allowing employers to spend their levy funds more flexibly, which would in turn allow millions more workers to benefit from quality training and career progression opportunities.

This would boost the UK economy just as it needs it most. The AAT has campaigned since 2016 for the apprenticeship levy to be renamed the “skills levy” and broadened to include traineeships and other forms of high quality training.

Harper added: “Widening the remit of the levy will help address the fall in apprenticeship starts, the frustrations of many employers and the future skills needs of the UK.”

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