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Government's Autumn Statement 2013

CII Briefing

On 5 December, the Chancellor of the Exchequer released the Government's annual Autumn Statement, setting out the state of the economy and key policy announcements.

Key announcements made by the Government in its Autumn Statement in 2013:

Economy:

  • Unemployment to fall from 7.6% in 2013 to 7% in 2015 and 5.6% by 2018
  • Deficit forecast to fall from 7.5% to 6.8% in 2013
  • Deficit forecast to be 5.6% in 2014
  • Britain expected to run small budget surplus in 2018-19
  • Debt forecast to be 75.5% of GDP this year - £18bn lower than expected - and 78.3% in 2014.

Savings, pensions and social care:

The government has previously announced that it will, for the first time, introduce a cap on welfare spending. Autumn Statement 2013 announces how this new cap will operate in detail:

  • The cap will apply to all social security and personal tax credits expenditure for the UK, with specific exceptions for the basic and additional State Pension and the most cyclical elements of welfare.
  • The precise level of the cap will be set at Budget 2014 and reviewed at the beginning of each Parliament.
  • The purpose of the cap is to protect against medium-term, structural deteriorations in welfare spending.

Apprenticeships

The government will reform apprenticeship funding to ensure that employers are at the heart of the system and it delivers skills that meet the demands of UK businesses. The government will develop a model which uses HMRC systems to route apprenticeship funding direct to employers. The government will consult on the technical details of the system in early 2014, and on the option of an alternative funding route for the smallest businesses.

The government also commits to:

  • introduce a compulsory employer cash contribution for a significant proportion of the external training costs of an apprentice (excluding English and maths)
  • provide an additional contribution to the costs of training for 16 to 17 year olds and separately consider the approach for 18 year olds
  • introduce a number of caps on the maximum government contribution per apprentice

The government will provide an additional contribution of £40 million to deliver an additional 20,000 higher apprenticeships starts in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years.

HM Revenue and Customs will fund employers directly for taking on apprentices. The Government wants an extra 20,000 higher apprenticeships over the next two years.

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