Barton’s blog: Spring sun doesn’t herald brighter times

It’s so nice to have had a little bit of sunshine this week; while it seems as though Spring has well and truly arrived, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s Spring Statement on Wednesday didn’t exactly usher in brighter times ahead.

In his much-anticipated speech, Sunak reiterated the pressures felt around the country, at government, industry and individual levels, brought on by Brexit transitional arrangements, the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, and now the war in Ukraine.

While Sunak promised a plan to help with the rising living costs and inflation rates, critics have accused him of not doing enough to protect the poorest households on low and middle incomes, even with the increase in the threshold at which employees have to start paying NI.

While the country braces itself for what the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has a stated will be the biggest drop in living standards since 1956, elsewhere we have seen evidence of employers seeking to provide their staff with benefits that provide much-needed health and wellbeing support.

For example, Boots has introduced a scheme to pay for employees’ HRT prescription costs, the British Association of Dental Nurses has introduced a menopause support policy to attract and retain talented members of staff, and HSBC Uk, First Direct and M&S Bank have pledged their support by joining the Endometriosis Friendly Employer scheme.

On Monday, we published the shortlist of entrants to the Employee Benefits Awards 2022, which showcases the very best examples of organisations that have done great things with reward and benefits strategies. There is still time to book a table at our fantastic event on 24 June.

Tynan Barton
Features editor
Tweet: @tynanbartonEB