In advance of UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s expected Comprehensive Spending Review announcement on Wednesday, CIMA delivered a series of recommendations to the government on post-pandemic recovery, paying back the cost of the crisis, and measures for training and reskilling.
The recommendations contained in Budgeting for Recovery and a Long-Term Economic Future for the UK build on CIMA’s 20-point plan, which was delivered to the UK government in July.
CIMA’s key proposals include:
- Making skills and professional development training mandatory in new job support and retention packages to close the UK’s skills gap and improve productivity.
- Creating a rebuttable right to retrain to empower workers to request further training and professional development.
- Increasing the number and range of investment opportunities in SMEs for nonspecialist investors such as ordinary savers, making it easier to match potential investors with good businesses seeking investment.
- Proactively supporting businesses to seize new opportunities by creating a Growth Accelerator scheme for SMEs.
- Introducing a new digital voucher scheme to help SMEs move online to boost demand for their products and extend their customer base.
- Adoption of integrated reporting for businesses across the UK to better showcase how they create value beyond financial results, for all stakeholders.
- Investing in green infrastructure to support a net-zero recovery and future business sustainability.
Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA, chief executive–Management Accounting at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, said: “COVID-19 has seen the UK government put strong emphasis on tackling short-term issues to help people and businesses cope with the immediate effects of the crisis.
“The UK now needs a longer-term economic plan to tackle systemic issues and deliver sustainable growth. Given the surge in unemployment, it is essential we invest in policies that deliver transformational skills needed for a post-Brexit Britain.”
Wednesday's UK government spending review set out spending for UK government departments over the next year, rather than three years as originally planned.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak also promised an additional £38 billion for public services to continue to fight the pandemic this year and a further £55 billion for recovery next year.
At the same time, the UK's independent fiscal watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), published its forecasts for the economy and public finances.
It anticipates the UK economy will shrink by 11.3% this year – the largest drop in more than 300 years. It expects the pre-virus level of economic activity to be achieved by the end of 2022.
It also predicts GDP to increase by 5.5% in 2021 and 6.6% in 2022.
— Oliver Rowe (Oliver.Rowe@aicpa-cima.com) is an FM magazine senior editor.