Make childcare cheaper to tackle UK’s talent crunch, business lobby says
The UK government should make childcare more affordable to help ease the country’s labour shortages, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has said.
In the upcoming Spring Budget, UK chancellor Jeremy Hunt should set out plans to help “cash strapped” parents pay for childcare, the business lobby group said.
It warned talent shortages are holding back Britain’s businesses as it argued making childcare more affordable could “unlock” talent and ease pressure on the labour market.
The lobby group also called for new funding to help businesses become greener, lower taxes for startups, and greater momentum on the UK’s post-Brexit Solvency II reforms.
The BCC’s director general Shevaun Haviland said the UK “urgently” needs to see “coherent policies from the government that set the economy on the path to growth”.
She warned “businesses see barriers to investment and expansion… at every turn,” as the BCC boss noted UK firms “cannot get staff” and “cannot pay their energy bills and business rates”.
The BCC’s calls come as data from its own surveys shows skills shortages and inflation have continued to be businesses main concerns since Covid-19.
In a paper, the lobby group noted that there are still 1.6m vacancies waiting to be filled – a figure higher than at any other point in the last two decades apart from in spring 2022.
It notes that 1.72m British people are currently out of work due to caring responsibilities, including 1.485m women.
The BCC also called for more government support to help improve the energy efficiency in the UK’s commercial buildings, which it estimated could cost around £20bn.