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27.10.21 Autumn budget

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed that:

  • The national living wage will increase by 6.6% from £8.91 to £9.50 an hour from 1 April 2022.
  • The national minimum wage rates for younger workers will also rise then – from £8.36 an hour to £9.18 an hour for those aged 21 to 22; from £6.56 to £6.83 for those aged 18 to 20; from £4.62 to £4.81 for under 18s; and from £4.30 to £4.81 an hour for apprentices.
  • The public sector pay freeze has been lifted, with a return to the usual independent pay setting process, which may see an increase in wages for 2.6 million public sector workers, including police officers and teachers.
  • The taper rate for Universal Credit will be lowered by no later than 1 December 2021, to allow workers to keep an extra eight pence for every pound they earn as their working hours increase.
  • Work allowances in Universal Credit will increase by £55 a year.
  • The government will invest in adult and STEM skills development.  This includes £1.6 bn to support the roll-out of T Levels, £550 million for adult skills including the “skills bootcamps” announced earlier this year, and £830 million to revamp and modernise colleges.  A document published by the Treasury shortly after the Chancellor’s speech said total spending on skills will increase over this Parliament and by £3.8 billion by 2024-25.  There will be an investment of £150 million to support training for early years’ workers.
  • There will be a new Scale up visa, which will make it “quicker and easier” for fast-growing businesses to scale up their operations by recruiting workers from overseas, as well as High Potential Individual and Global Business Mobility visas.
  • There will be a one-year 50% business rate cut for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
  • Unemployment is expected to peak at 5.2%, which is much lower than expected in the last Budget. 
  • Despite these measures, immediate concerns have been raised, including that firms will continue to struggle to fill vacancies and the four million people out of work due to long-term ill health and caring responsibilities will continue to receive virtually no employment support at all.

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