For the full speech:
The two areas that primarily impact employment and working families follow. There are no changes for payroll. Of interest is the increases affecting pension contributions.
Significant reforms to childcare will remove barriers to work for nearly half a million parents with a child under 3 in England not working due to caring responsibilities, reducing discrimination against women and benefitting the wider economy in the process.
- 30 hours of free childcare for every child over the age of 9 months with working parents by September 2025, where eligibility will match the existing 3-4 year-old 30 hours offer.
- This will be introduced in phases, with 15 hours of free childcare for working parents of 2-year-olds coming into effect in April 2024 and 15 hours of free childcare for working parents of 9 months – 3 years old in September 2024.
- The funding paid to nurseries for the existing free hours offers will also be increased by £204 million from this September rising to £288 million next year.
- Schools and local authorities will be funded to increase the supply of wraparound care, so that parents of school age children can drop their children off between 8am and 6pm – tackling the barriers to working caused by limited availability of wraparound care.
- Childcare costs of parents moving into work or increasing their hours on Universal Credit paid upfront rather than in arrears, with maximum claim boosted to £951 for one child and £1,630 for two children – an increase of around 50%.
- In recognition of both the importance and short supply of childminders, incentive payments of £600 will be piloted from Autumn of this year for those who sign up to the profession (rising to £1,200 for those who join through an agency) to increase the number available and increase choice and affordability for parents.
The Chancellor set out a comprehensive plan to help people move into work, increase their hours, and extend their working lives, including for those on benefits.
- The Lifetime Allowance charge will be removed before being abolished altogether, removing barriers to remaining in work and simplifying the tax system by taking thousands out of the complexity of pension tax.
- The Annual Allowance will be increased from £40,000 to £60,000, incentivising highly-skilled workers to remain in the labour market. As a result of the pensions tax measures announced today, an estimated 80% of NHS doctors will not receive a tax charge with respect to accruals under the 2015 NHS career average scheme.
- A new ‘Returnerships’ apprenticeship targeted at the over 50s will refine existing skills programmes to make them more accessible to older workers, giving them the skills and support they need to find a recognisable path back into work.
- The midlife MOT offer will be expanded and improved to ensure people get the best possible financial, health and career guidance well ahead of retirement. There will be an enhanced digital midlife MOT tool and an expansion of DWP’s in person midlife MOTs for 50+ Universal Credit claimants, aiming to reach 40,000 per year.
- A DWP White Paper on disability benefits reform will herald the biggest change to the welfare system in the past ten years, to make sure it better meets the needs of disabled people in Great Britain. This includes removing the Work Capability Assessment, meaning the majority of claimants will now have to do one health assessment rather than two. Reforms will also support claimants to try work without fear of losing their financial support.
- A new voluntary employment scheme for disabled people and those with health conditions called Universal Support will be funded in England and Wales. The government will spend up to £4,000 per person to find them a suitable role and cater to their needs, supporting 50,000 places per year once fully rolled out.
- A £406 million plan to tackle the leading health causes keeping people out of work, with investment targeted at services for mental health, musculoskeletal conditions, and cardiovascular disease.
- Strengthening work search and work preparation requirements for around 700,000 lead carers of children aged 1-12 claiming Universal Credit in Great Britain.
- Increasing the Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET) – which determines how much support and Work Coach time a claimant will receive based on their earnings – for an individual claimant, from the equivalent of 15 to 18 hours at National Living Wage and removing the couples AET in Great Britain. Over 100,000 non-working or low-earning individuals will be asked to meet more regularly with their Work Coach for support to move into work or increase their earnings.
- The application and enforcement of the Universal Credit sanctions regime will be strengthened, by providing additional training for Work Coaches to apply sanctions effectively, including for claimants who do not look for or take up employment, and automating administrative elements of the sanctions process to reduce error rates and free up Work Coach time.
- Elsewhere, international talent will be attracted through a new migration package that includes adding five construction occupations to the Shortage Occupation List and expanding the range of short-term business activities that are covered under the UK’s six-month business visit visa offer.
The Spring Budget 2023 contained little to no impacts on payroll and payroll processing.
Some employers may put in controls to limit pension contribution due to the tax relief limits. However, such measures now need to be reviewed with the increase to the annual limit by 50% and the removal of the lifetime limit%.