ACCA UK comments on the Queen's Speech

New legislation includes more funding for UK’s training and skills agenda, and a commitment to environmental targets

Claire Bennison, head of ACCA UK comments on two key announcements – the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill and the Environment Bill.

Skills and training
As a professional body that trains and develops accountants, the introduction of the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill is very much welcomed. This is a pivotal moment for the government to nurture the modern digital and technical skills for all people needing to retrain and upskill in resilient sectors. The statutory need for employers to plan training programmes appears to be innovative, as it makes the necessary and important link between the world of work and training. This development could be beneficial for those looking to re-train and seek a new career as a result of the pandemic.

‘Employers should also remember that tax relief allowances are also available for training costs when it’s solely for business purposes. It is therefore important that in addition to funding for training, the tax system should also be aligned as it is not currently equitable between employer paid training and individuals paying for training.

‘Aligned with this, a review is needed of how apprenticeships are run in the UK, with analysis from the CIPD announced today which reveals that the levy system is flawed. For many SMEs a one-off payment does not go far enough to encourage new recruitment and they would like longer term support to help with costs such as wages for new starters.’

The green economy – targets and meeting them
As we head towards the COP26 meeting in November, the Environment Bill’s setting of new binding climate change targets is timely if not overdue. We believe targets are important as long as these are monitored, measured, reported on and assured regularly to assess progress.

‘Scrutiny of these and other Bills announced today will be vital to monitor progress as the UK makes cautious steps out of the recent lockdowns.’

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