Last week the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, unveiled the first budget of the Parliament. Whilst there was not a great deal of news for apprenticeships, we’ve still gathered everything you need to know into one handy guide.
It is worth noting that in light of the coronavirus outbreak, the government situation is likely to change. Nonetheless, the 2020 budget outlines our present position. We will keep you informed of any further changes to apprenticeships and work-based learning as and when they arise.
Introducing the National Skills Fund
The biggest takeaway for vocational learning is the confirmation of the National Skills Fund, originally promised in the Conservative election manifesto. Sunak has committed £2.5 billion to the fund for improving adult skills.
In a further boost for further education, Sunak also promised £1.5 billion over five years for the refurbishment of college buildings and facilities.
The government is also aiming to “boost science, technology, engineering and maths teaching with capital investment for up to eight new Institutes of Technology and 11 maths schools”.
Apprenticeship Increase Promised
On the subject of apprenticeships, the government stated that it will ensure “sufficient funding is made available in 2020-21 to support an increase in the number of new high-quality apprenticeships in small and medium-sized businesses”. There was no mention of funding or of how many apprenticeships the government aims to create.
There was a similar level of acknowledgement for the Apprenticeship Levy. The government simply reiterated its manifesto promise to “look at how to improve the working of the Apprenticeship Levy, to support large and small employers in meeting the long-term skills needs of the economy”.
It is widely expected that there will be further details in the Comprehensive Spending Review 2020. The CSR will set out detailed spending plans for public services and investment for the three years from 2021-22.
The review is due to conclude in July.
For Businesses Affected by Coronavirus
While not specifically related to apprenticeships, it is worth re-iterating how the 2020 budget sets out government support for businesses affected by the coronavirus.
These include an extension of Statutory Sick Pay for employees and a range of relief measures for affected businesses.
These measures include:
- Expanded Business Rates reliefs
- A Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supporting up to £1 billion for SMEs
- A £2.2 billion grant scheme for small businesses
- A dedicated HMRC helpline for those who need a deferral period on their tax liabilities
The number for the HMRC helpline is 0800 0159 559.
Remote Work is Still Work Experience
This is an unprecedented and unsettling time. Coronavirus is impacting where we work and changing how we work, but work, and apprenticeship training, must still go on where it can.
With Instructus Skills, your End Point Assessments can be entirely remote, minimising risk and ensuring continuity for your business. Find out more here →