Budget 2020: 3 take-aways for Prospect members

Tom Railton · 12 March 2020

The new Chancellor’s first budget was dominated by the response to the Covid-19 virus and the need to support workers and businesses.

Here are the top three takeaways for Prospect members:

Freelancers left behind

The Chancellor announced a package of measures to help businesses and employees through the Covid-19 crisis, but the measures to support freelancers were inadequate to the scale of the challenge.

The government have made it slightly easier for freelancers and the self-employed to access the benefits system, but this is less than Statutory Sick Pay and remains an incredibly complicated system to navigate.

This is a big issue across Prospect but particularly for members in the Bectu sector and creative industries. This is not good enough and Prospect are campaigning for the government to go further.

Boost for science

The government have announced a long-overdue increase in science and research spending in order to boost UK research and development spending which has long lagged behind OECD averages.

We have welcomed this announcement and will be putting pressure on government to make sure that this money is used to support public sector science and the specialists who work in it.

Action on climate, but not enough

The government did set out some new measures to help tackle the climate crisis, such as investment in carbon capture and storage and some measures on carbon taxations. However, the policies are not in line with the gravity of the emergency the planet faces.

There was nothing on funding new low-carbon nuclear energy, and nothing on funding agencies such as Natural England and the Environment Agency so that they can recruit and retain the specialist staff needed to protect and enhance our natural environment.

Tom Railton is Prospect’s Public Affairs Officer

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