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The insurance and personal finance professions welcome the Chancellor’s plan for jobs

The insurance and personal finance professions welcome the Chancellor’s plan for jobs

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Keith Richards, Chief Executive, Personal Finance Society and Chief Membership Officer, CII | Chartered Insurance Institute

4 min read Partner content

Greater incentives for apprentices and employers will result in more individuals being able to access the insurance and personal finance professions, which are keen to attract fresh and diverse talent.

The Chancellor’s announcements are a welcome addition to the existing programmes of support to get young people onto meaningful career paths.

We are proud to have been approved by the Department for Work and Pensions as an official Gateway organisation for the Kickstart scheme, and have so far partnered with 44 organisations and made 73 placements available, two within the CII itself.

We want to assist those who may struggle to find work due to Covid-19 access a rewarding career in the insurance and personal finance professions, where everyone can help consumers with their money matters.

Greater incentives for apprentices and employers will result in more individuals being able to access the insurance and personal finance professions, which are keen to attract fresh and diverse talent.

As the Chancellor set out, we have the opportunity to not only recover, but build back stronger, and apprenticeships are a great way to fill existing and future skills gaps with diverse, enthusiastic professionals

Our own experience with Aspire which we launched back in 2017, has seen more than 500 registered firms sign up to a programme which offers structured training to apprentices so that they can achieve the necessary qualifications and skills required to become a fully qualified financial adviser or insurance professional.

More than 1,500 apprentices were enrolled in the insurance and personal finance professions in 2020, and the Personal Finance Society has now teamed up with the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to further promote the benefit of Aspire.

As the Chancellor set out, we have the opportunity to not only recover, but build back stronger, and apprenticeships are a great way to fill existing and future skills gaps with diverse, enthusiastic professionals

Tax and savings

Of course, it’s not only jobs we need to consider as Covid-19 has shown how important it is to have the safety net of insurance in place.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has put the nation on notice of future tax increases to fund the ‘wartime’-like levels of borrowing that has taken place due to Covid-19.

We would urge him to make sure any moves to fix the public finances and future tax changes do not discourage a savings culture that builds personal finances back better.

While the insurance premium tax may have once been seen as a necessary component of HM Treasury’s tax strategy, the rate has unreasonably risen over time increasing the true cost of insurance and hitting hard working people the hardest.

The Chartered Insurance Institute has repeatedly asked Chancellor Rishi Sunak to reform this tax. This stealth tax on responsible and vulnerable customers should have been cut.

The government should consider the benefits for consumers of reducing the cost of premiums by cutting this tax, so that more people are able to protect against the risks in life which may otherwise be catastrophic.

We do however, welcome the new green retail savings product and new pensions flexibilities that will allow pension funds to invest in innovative ventures. It is great to see the government recognise the role pensions and savings can play in building back green.

Housing/Mortgages

The extension of the stamp duty holiday and the new mortgage guarantee scheme are welcome short-term fixes, but to truly turn Generation Rent into Generation Buy then long-term action is needed.

The damage done to personal finances by Covid-19 means the mortgage guarantee scheme will be welcomed by those whose ability to set cash aside for a deposit to get onto the housing ladder. As ever, what we need to turn the tide on home ownership in the UK is more affordable housing.

Furlough

Ultimately, whilst the extension of furlough to protect livelihoods and support for mothballed businesses to reopen is welcome news, to repair the long-term damage done to individual’s savings and financial safety nets caused by Covid-19, it is vital the government engages with the financial advice and insurance profession to explore ways to rebuild the financial resilience of individuals.

 

 

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