What's in the Budget
Welfare to Work: no direct changes to New Deal 50+. Changes to the rules for New Deal 25+ (which can include older adults) to introduce a greater degree of compulsory (pilots in 4 areas in the first instance) and to "catch" those who are in and out of temporary work and unemployment by calculating 18 months cumulative unemployment over 3 years to trigger compulsory programmes. Also, testing a new programme of compulsory work placements for hard-to-place under-25s in 6 areas.
Making work pay: pressing ahead with the introduction of Working Tax Credit from April 2003 which will subsume the Employment Credit in New Deal 50+ (i.e. those returning to work on low incomes receive a credit through the tax system to bring their pay up to a basic minimum,) This also applies to self employment.
Pensions: index linked increases in line with current policies. Pressing ahead with the introduction of the Pension credit from October 2003 to uplift those with pensions below the basic minimum.
Workforce Development: trial of a scheme to give employees 70 or 35 hours a year paid time off for training which employers have to accept. In the pilot phase Government will subsidise the wage costs, but the idea is that this would turn into another tax credit. The pilots will be run by LSCs in Essex, Wiltshire, Birmingham, Tyne and Wear, Greater Manchester and Derbyshire. This builds on the report of the PIU on Workforce Development. The issue here is whether the trials will bring benefit to the all age workforce or be concentrated in a narrow age band.
Not in the Budget
1. Removal of the Inland Revenue rules on mixing earned and pension income from the same source, preventing flexible working and downshifting (promised in the Manifesto)
2. Any action on occupational pensions, annuity rules, defined benefit and defined contribution schemes and tax take from pension funds.
3. Any particular reference to adult guidance and education, as opposed to "schools and universities"