A common plea from businesses to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt ahead of his Budget on Wednesday is for more support around apprenticeship schemes, while wider business rates reform is on the wish list from retailers.
The British Retail Consortium’s Helen Dickinson said: “Government must tweak the Apprenticeship Levy to allow retailers to invest more effectively in training a higher skilled, more productive and better-paid workforce.”
She added: “£3.5 billion of potential investment into the UK labour market has gone to waste due to the overly restrictive rules around what businesses can use Apprenticeship Levy funding for. It’s time Government listened to businesses and allow them to use their hard-earned Levy funds for a wider array of skills courses.”
While a business rates revaluation coming in next month will help a number of high street companies, Dickinson added that it is “essential” there is further rates reform.
Richard Lambert, chief executive of the National Hair & Beauty Federation said: “We would like to see the Spring Budget extending energy cost support, financial incentives to encourage employers to hire apprentices and an urgent review of taxation which is disincentivising growth.”
Andy Slee, who leads the Society of Independent Brewers said the industry “is facing steeply rising costs, and a fall in consumer spending due to the cost of living crisis. For many breweries the battle to stay afloat is proving a real challenge”.
He said: “It is now vital that the Government introduce a number of measures to help businesses survive, starting with the introduction of Draught Relief at 20%, which would encourage sales in pubs - driving money back into the economy and helping the breweries that supply them.” That is much higher than the 5% duty discount due to come in from August.