Education is at the heart of everything we do and so we watched the Autumn 2018 Budget closely. As expected, education funding was discussed. We also heard about other issues our work covers – employability, apprenticeships and young people’s mental health.
The Chancellor pledged that schools will receive £400 million in extra capital funding. The funding can be spent on capital projects such as equipment and maintenance, but not on revenue outlays such as staff salaries. The pledge amounts to an average of £10,000 per primary school or £50,000 per secondary school.
The new Budget also addresses mental health: funding will increase as a share of the overall NHS budget over the next five years. Following complaints about the lack of children’s mental health services, some of this money is expected to go into expanding previously announced proposals for young people’s mental health.
Employability and Apprenticeships
Hammond announced that employment is at a near record high and the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts that growth is expected to continue. In addition, the unemployment rate is at its lowest for over 40 years. There are over 3.3 million more people in work since 2010 and the OBR forecasts there will be 800,000 more jobs by 2022.The Chancellor has pledged a £695 million package to support apprenticeships, with a view to hitting George Osbourne’s target of 3 million apprenticeships by 2020. And the national minimum wage for apprenticeships will rise again in April 2019 from £3.70 to £3.90 per hour. The 20 pence extra represents a 5.4% rise, following last year’s increase. Further pledges to apprenticeships include:
- From April 2019 large businesses will be able to invest up to 25% of their apprenticeship levy to support apprentices in their supply chain
- Some employers will pay half of what they currently pay for apprenticeship training – from 10% to 5%. The government will pay the remaining 95%.