Sunday February 12, 2023 10:30 p.m.
The UK government should make childcare more affordable to help ease labor shortages in the country, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) have said.
In the upcoming spring budget, UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is expected to present plans to help “cash-strapped” parents pay for childcare, the business lobby group has said.
He warned that the talent shortage was holding UK businesses back, as he said making childcare more affordable could ‘unlock’ talent and ease pressure on the job market.
The lobby group has also called for new funding to help businesses go greener, lower taxes for startups and give a bigger boost to the UK’s post-Brexit Solvency II reforms.
BCC chief executive Shevaun Haviland said the UK “urgently” needs to see “coherent government policies that put the economy on a path to growth”.
She warned that “businesses are seeing obstacles to investment and expansion…at every turn,” as the BCC boss noted that UK businesses “cannot recruit staff” and “cannot pay their energy bills and business rates.
The BCC’s calls come as data from its own surveys show that skills shortages and inflation have remained top concerns for businesses since Covid-19.
In a post, the lobby group noted that there were still 1.6 million vacancies to be filled – a figure higher than at any time in the past two decades except spring 2022. .
It notes that 1.72 million Britons are currently out of work due to caring responsibilities, including 1.485 million women.
The BCC has also called for more government support to help improve the energy efficiency of UK commercial buildings, which it says could cost around £20billion.