HR experts have given a cautious welcome to last week’s Budget which provided few surprises for personnel and training sectors.
Chancellor Gordon Brown announced a large increase in public spending, a string of moves to encourage employee share ownership, a relaxation of working restrictions on overseas IT experts and enhancements to the New Deal.
John Cridland, head of HR services at the CBI, welcomed Brown’s decision to retain save-as-you-earn share (SAYE) schemes in addition to promoting new arrangements for unsecured options. He said the decision was “a considerable victory for common sense”.
There had been speculation before the Budget that such schemes might be ditched or their tax allowance cut to favour the incoming schemes.
Moves to implement family-friendly policies were partially backed by the newly-formed Recruitment and Employment Confederation – the trade body for employment agencies.
It argued that while the extension of paid parental leave could potentially increase the need for temporary staff, the extra requirements put on agencies, regarding the Working Families Tax Credit, would drive up costs.
Training initiatives were thin on the ground although the extension of the New Deal to single parents will see them able to claim an extra £15 a week if they undertake training.
The National Training Organisation’s national council welcomed the Budget, but is holding out for a major lobbying push in favour of training incentives in the Chancellor’s full spending review.
By Tom Powdrill