Chancellor George Osborne is scheduled to deliver the Budget 2012
later this month (on Wednesday 21 March 2012).Budget 2012: Little room to manoeuvre?
Some commentators argue that Osborne has little room to manoeuvre this time around:
- "The Chancellor faces his third budget with the economy and public finances in considerably weaker shape than he had hoped a year ago," says IFS Director Paul Johnson.
- "The Budget cupboard is bare," says the Telegraph. Elsewhere, the Telegraph notes that Osborne "will not be afforded the luxury of wowing with eye-catching giveaways, instead he may have to settle for what many in the world of business believe will be a "fiddling around the edges" affair."
However, the Guardian's Larry Elliott argues that last week's news of a stronger-than-expected public finance surplus for January 2012 means that "some modest budget sweeteners are in the offing."
So what might we expect from Osborne's Budget 2012?
Budget 2012: What can we expect?
Here, XpertHR presents a round-up of topics of relevance to employers and HR professionals that might be covered in Budget 2012:
- Acceleration of employment law reform. In November 2011, the Coalition Government published its published its response to the consultation on resolving workplace disputes, setting out proposals which it described as "the most radical reform to the employment law system for decades." The Telegraph reports that a number of business bodies want to see Osborne announce measures to speed up this process of employment law reform in the Budget 2012. For example: British Chambers of Commerce Director General John Longworth says "reforms to employment law [...] must be significantly speeded up;" and IOD chief economist Graeme Leach wants to see "deep reduction of burdens on business." Former Defence Secretary Liam Fox recently joined these voices, arguing that "To restore competitiveness we must begin by deregulating the labour market." Fox says: "Political objections must be overridden. It is too difficult to hire and fire, and too expensive to take on new employees. It is intellectually unsustainable to believe that workplace rights should remain untouchable while output and employment are clearly cyclical."
- National minimum wage rates for 2012/2013 announcement. It is possible that Osborne will announce the national minimum wage rates for 2012/2013 (which will come into effect from Monday 1 October 2012) in the Budget 2012. The Low Pay Commission (LPC) delivered its 2012 report - which sets out its recommendations for the 2012/2013 national minimum wage rates - to the Government last month. Given the current backdrop of ongoing economic uncertainty, rising unemployment and falling inflation, news of the national minimum wage rates for 2012/2013 will be particularly closely watched. Press reports suggest that the national minimum wage adult rate could be increased for 2012/2013, but that the rates paid to younger workers are "most likely to be frozen." See National minimum wage 2012/2013: What can we expect from the October 2012 national minimum wage increase? for further analysis of what might be in prospect for the national minimum wage in 2012/2013 and beyond.
Read the complete post at http://www.xperthr.co.uk/blogs/employment-intelligence/2012/03/budget-2012-what-can-we-expect.html
2 Mar 2012 9:30 AM
XpertHR - Employment Intelligence
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