Working through the Chancellor’s Budget

This week we had the Chancellor’s Budget and while we work through the detail and what it means for Staffordshire, there appears to be support for small businesses, money for skills training, help for  those in need, and more childcare to help parents.

As I have spoken about many times, social care is the biggest pressure facing local authorities today. But this is a national issue and the Chancellor’s announcement of extra money to spend on helping the elderly out of hospital and back into their homes, including some to be spent from April onwards, is recognition that we can’t solve the problem in isolation.

Skills are also hugely important for us and we have £37 million earmarked for the next few years to shape the skills training system. This will make sure people can learn the high quality skills needed for the better paid jobs of the future and reassure employers that they will have access to a skilled workforce. The new ‘T-levels’ also means that young people have an equal choice between academic and technical routes to earning a good wage.

With regards to the changes to business rates we also welcome the news of the transitional arrangements. The fact that local authorities may eventually become reliant on business rates for their income, we would expect to play a full part in the future review of them announced by the Chancellor.

And finally, it’s also great news that the scheme to give 30 hours’ free childcare for three and four year olds, which has been piloted successfully in Staffordshire, will be rolled out nationally in September.  This will allow parents to either work more hours, or save money if they already are.


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