17 October 2023
During the main political parties' conference season in the UK, which typically takes place in the autumn, each party gathers to discuss and shape their political agenda. The conferences serve as platforms for leaders to address their party members, unveil policy proposals, and rally support. In recent years, these events have been of particular interest to the hair and beauty sector. This year has been no different. The NHBF has listened to all the main political conferences and here is our takeaway from each conference.
CONSERVATIVE PARTY CONFERENCE
National Living Wage will rise to two-thirds of average earnings. The Chancellor committed to Low Pay Commission recommendations, with the full announcement coming in November.
T-levels are going but staying!
T-levels will be replaced by a new Advanced British Standard combining A-levels and T-levels in one qualification. The NHBF made a statement in response. The sector has long preferred the apprenticeship route as there is more on-the-job learning and apprentices arrive ‘job ready’. However, at a time of skills shortages, T-levels were a useful extra route for recruiting. The new Standard is a ten-year plan and sector T-levels will launch in September 2024 in the meantime.
More local funds
‘Left-behind' towns will have access to £20 million endowment-style funds. This adds to existing levelling up funds as previously announced by the government. This will benefit the 55 towns targeted, but not others.
LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE
More on skills and colleges
Building on previous announcements by the Labour Party about the creation of Skills England to improve England’s skills system and a ‘Growth and Skills levy’ to support training.
They have plans to transform existing further education colleges into new specialist Technical Excellence Colleges with additional investment from local businesses and improved links to local universities.
Great British Energy
Previous announcements referred to establishing Great British Energy a state-owned energy firm to invest in offshore wind and local renewable power. They also announced plans to cut energy bills by £93 billion by 2030 lowering the price through bulk purchasing and standardisation.
Genuine living wage
The party also committed to introducing a genuine living wage that takes into account the real cost of living in place of the national minimum wage. They have also tasked former TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady to look at how a Labour government could go further and faster to end the gender pay gap.
LIBERAL DEMOCRATS CONFERENCE
Buoyed by a string of recent by-election wins in Tory blue wall seats, the party currently with 15 MPs is targeting 40-50 seats (according to some estimates) at the next election. Business policies of interest include plans to introduce an industrial strategy through re-establishing the Industrial Strategy Council (ISC) to ensure oversight, monitoring and evaluation for the long term; in addition to encouraging apprenticeships and the digitisation of SMEs. Other policies included action to tackle climate change and the nature crisis.
In other news, the Scottish National Party (SNP) pledge further support to cut NHS waiting lists in Scotland and the Green Party supports a four-day working week.
It could be another year before a General Election so we’ll keep working with and influencing all political parties on your behalf.