De Poel CEO shares views on Autumn Statement
With the usual election slogans of “we’re all in this together”, “our long-term economic plan”, and “recovery for all” still ringing in our ears, one can be forgiven for feeling a degree of cynicism, following the Autumn Statement 2014.
Having said that, I believe there are many positives that can be taken from today’s proposals. Chancellor George Osborne boldly commented: “Britain is on course for surplus, lower taxes, more jobs, higher growth, a truly national recovery, on course to prosperity”.
I for one would like to believe this is the case. I thoroughly welcome the Government’s intention to unlock £1 billion of funding for small businesses and extend their financial support. With £500m of bank lending plus £400m of government-backed venture capital funds, this is a move that will mean small businesses get the recognition and support that their importance to the economy merits.
I also fully back the scrapping of jobs tax for businesses employing young apprentices, as we champion and encourage young apprentices into the world of work, and recognise the key role they play in building a foundation for our future economic stability. Being a firm believer that practical skills and attitude are equally as important as education and excellent exam grades, this move will allow more young people to explore the apprenticeship route.
Turning to employment statistics, with an estimated 500,000 new jobs created this year and unemployment set to fall to 5.4% in 2015, these figures, on the face of it, speak for themselves. My business and I are champions of the importance of temporary and contingent workers to the UK economy, and I look forward to seeing what percentage of these 500,000 new jobs fall into those categories.
Indeed, employment is at a record high of 30.8 million, up 1.7 million since the Government came into office and more than 1 million above its pre-recession peak. The employment rate (73.0%) has returned to its pre-recession level and, since Q1 2010, employment has increased faster in the UK than in any other country in the G7.
These are all very positive figures and today’s Autumn Statement outlined some equally positive proposals. However, whether Mr Osborne’s forecasts reach fruition remains to be seen. Or so my cynical side reminds me.