In response to the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, Shaw Trust CEO, Chris Luck, said:
As an employability charity, with a ‘child to career’ approach to improving life chances, Shaw Trust is very pleased to see the government acknowledge the extraordinary financial headwinds impacting everyone. We agree more should be done to invest in people and incentivise employers to increase much needed investment in adult training. The Chancellor rightly highlighted that we lag the OECD average in this area, which is vital to level up for our most disadvantaged people and communities.
While the unexpected and continuing low unemployment is good news, we need expanded and new employment support, fully joined up with place-based skills systems, to address the widening disability employment gap, and crisis in employment participation, driven by the exit of older workers from the labour market and young people facing continuing Covid pandemic unemployment scarring effects.
Notwithstanding the welcome increase in the Household Support Fund, National Insurance starting threshold and planned cut to basic rate income tax from 2024, we strongly urge the government to introduce more targeted support for disabled people and those on low incomes, to start to address the spiralling cost of living crisis. This is urgent given the limited uprating of benefits and the substantial extra costs of disability, disadvantage and poverty.
We will continue to follow and examine closely the consequences of the Chancellor’s statement on our participants and our own colleagues.