Employment-related Spring Budget announcements
As part of the Spring 2023 Budget the Chancellor announced a number of measures relevant to employment. These include childcare measures, measures to help disabled people within the workplace and to help those on long-term sick back to work, as well as the introduction of "returnerships".
From April 2024, working parents of 2-year olds will be able to access 15 hours of free childcare per week, this will be extended from September 2024 to working parents of children between the ages of 9 months and 3 years. Then, from September 2025, working parents of children aged 9 months to 3 years will be able to access 30 hours of free childcare per week.
A "wraparound childcare pathfinder scheme" will be launched, designed to ensure that all primary-aged children in England can access care in school between the hours of 8am and 6pm. The government has also said that it will launch a consultation on further measures to support reform of the childcare market to improve the childcare offer for parents.
A new supported employment programme for disabled people and those with long-term health conditions in England and Wales will be introduced. The government will also pilot a new programme "WorkWell", to better integrate employment and health support for those with health conditions, supporting individuals into employment and to remain in work.
The government has also announced measures to help the long-term sick and disabled back into employment. It will digitise NHS Health Check in England to identify cardiovascular conditions earlier. For those suffering from musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions such as arthritis or back pain, the government will introduce employment advisers into MSK services to help individuals return to or remain in employment. Mental health provision will be scaled up, with the aim of modernising and digitising mental health services in England.
The Chancellor used his Budget speech to introduce "returnerships". Returnerships is a programme which will promote accelerated apprenticeship, Sector-Based Work Academy Programme placements and Skills Bootcamps to the over-50s.