The Crafts Council responds to the March Budget Announcement
In the 8 March budget, the Government announced new measures that are likely to have an impact on craft businesses and education.
New T-Levels qualifications are to be introduced to give parity of esteem for technical education and the number of hours of training for technical students aged 16 to 19 will increase by more than 50%, to include a high-quality, three-month work placement.
We understand that Creative & Design is to be one of the proposed 15 T-levels. Opportunities to diversify routes into craft careers are welcome and we look forward to learning more about T-Levels. We will also continue to highlight through our Studying Craft research that GCSE entrants in Design & Technology have fallen by 41% between 07/08 and 14/15 and that this trend must be reversed if we are to secure the long term future of making.
£435m will be made available to assist firms affected by increases in business rates, including a £300m discretionary hardship fund for local authorities to help businesses most affected by the revaluation. And unincorporated businesses operating below the VAT threshold will now get an extra year to prepare for tax digitisation and quarterly reporting.
The Government also announced that the main rate of Class 4 National Insurance contributions for the self-employed would increase. The Crafts Council was concerned that many makers who are sole traders would have to pay more NI. Fortunately the Government withdrew this change following criticism in parliament.
We are also working with partners on the Industrial Strategy to try and ensure that the creative industries are not excluded from bidding for financial support money from the Challenge Fund, designed to address the future needs of UK industries.
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