Gordon Brown delivers his final Budget today before the anticipated general election in May. Many commentators expect the chancellor to include several pre-election sweeteners to encourage the business vote.
Business leaders have already raised concerns about the potential burden of extending paid maternity leave, but have welcomed Brown’s expected commitment to improve the UK’s skills base.
The CBI has repeated its now annual plea to avoid further increases in business taxes, and has asked the government to rethink its pensions strategy.
The Federation of Small Busi-nesses has called for less regulatory burden on small businesses and the simplification of taxation.
Personnel Today asked three HR directors what they would ideally like to see in Brown’s budget.
What would you like to see in Brown’s budget?
Lynne Griffin, director (personnel and training) at Northern Rock
“Tax incentives for childcare vouchers should be expanded. The majority of our workforce is female and a number have returned from maternity leave. Anything that would help ease the burden of childcare costs would be welcome.”
Jonathan Evans, head of HR at Westminster City Council
“I would like to see some kind of benefit in kind on work-life balance, treating it favourably and not taxing it out of existence. Tax credits could always be simplified to make it easier for people to understand them and for people to work with them. We are in central London, but most of our employees can’t afford to live in Westminster, so anything to reduce the cost of travel to and from work – petrol prices are going through the roof.”
Liz Fraser, HR director at PR firm Weber Shandwick
“I would like to see anything that would encourage people to contribute to their pension schemes, such as not paying National Insurance on the portion of your salary that goes towards the pension. I would also like to see more flexible training support. At the moment, the government only helps for the low-end training for basic skills, but we are providing training for people higher up, such as management.”