UK Government’s Autumn Statement recognises the need to invest in people

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The Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement yesterday set out a raft of tax, welfare and public spending decisions designed to prioritise stability, growth and public services by tackling the cost of living crisis and rebuilding the UK economy.

Amongst other directives, the Statement also outlined measures to boost growth and productivity by investing in people, infrastructure and innovation. This includes additional support to increase labour market participation, reflecting the fact that there are now more working-age inactive individuals than there were pre-pandemic – with 28% of these on long-term sick leave.

Group Risk Development (GRiD), the UK’s industry body for the group risk protection sector, has announced that it welcomes the government’s proposed review, by the Department for Work and Pensions, of issues holding back workforce participation, which will conclude in early 2023.  

They highlight that the group risk industry (specifically those providing group income protection insurance) pioneered vocational rehabilitation in the UK. It was also among the first to understand the bio-psycho-social model in the context of illness and disability, recognising the need to refocus on capability rather than inability long before state provision was refocused in this way.

GRiD understands that work plays a crucial part in promoting mental wellbeing. It’s important for self-esteem and identity, it can provide a sense of fulfilment and the opportunity for social interaction and, for most people, it’s their main source of income.

Speaking on behalf of GRiD, Katharine Moxham said:

“GRiD is keen to support the government’s aims of reducing the number of working-age adults who are “economically inactive” – particularly the record number of those who are economically inactive because of long-term sickness – and believes that group income protection insurance can provide the means of doing this”.

“The workplace has an important part to play in maintaining good health, dealing with ill health at an early stage and supporting employees to remain in work. With the added advantage of access to embedded additional support services such as HR support, Employee Assistance Programmes, case management, vocational rehabilitation, second medical opinion services, nurse-led support, fast-track access to physiotherapy, CBT and other talking therapies, online GP services, health apps and so on, employers with a group income protection policy are well-placed to help with reducing ill-health related job loss.”

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