GRiD comments on the Spring Statement

Press release 6 March 2024.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt MP, today delivered his Spring Statement with a continued focus on helping make work pay.

Commenting on the Statement, GRiD spokesperson, Katharine Moxham, said:

“Whilst the Spring Budget Report confirms a continued commitment to supporting people into work, it was disappointing to not see any announcements of actionable measures to address those who are unable to work due to long-term sickness or disability.  We have still not seen a response to the HM Treasury / HMRC ‘Tax Incentives for Occupational Health’ consultation, despite the Department of Work & Pensions publishing theirs last November.

“It may be they are waiting for the recently formed Occupational Health Taskforce to take action, yet without an indication of timescales, there are certainly a couple of challenges they could have addressed immediately that would make a difference to workers.

“In addition to the need to widen the definition of occupational health to allow additional relevant products and services to be included within any tax incentives; as an industry, we called for the removal of the benefit in kind charge for Group Critical Illness schemes, and the reinterpretation of optional remuneration arrangements for Group Income Protection, so benefits and premiums are not taxed twice.

“This will ensure employers can further help their workforce, providing products and services that can help employees help themselves and give them the support they need when they need it most; whilst saving the state considerable effort and cost.

“It’s vital to explore how people end up being economically inactive. In many cases, employees wouldn’t leave work if they were better supported by their employer. Employers will find help within their benefits package for supporting those whose health presents a barrier to work. For example, as well as meeting the costs of long-term sick pay, group income protection insurance includes access to help from vocational rehabilitation experts, and access to advice and support with both short- and long-term health conditions and making reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010. An insurer might even help with the extra costs of keeping someone in work – such as providing or modifying equipment – on an ex-gratia basis.

“It’s time for government to make good on its promise to be proactive and encourage more employers to move towards providing a better level of long-term sick pay and support during absence. This will mitigate the number of people whose health presents a barrier to work becoming economically inactive by getting them back to work and by financially supporting those who genuinely can’t go back or who need longer to do so. Group income protection providers can help deliver that outcome for employers and employees alike, whilst saving the state considerable effort and cost.”

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For further information please contact:

Ali Cort 
SMUK Marketing and PR 
Mob: 07887 484247

Katharine Moxham
Spokesperson for GRiD
Mob: 07887 512508

Notes for editors

About GRiD

Group Risk Development (GRiD) is the industry body for the group risk sector, promoting the value to UK businesses of providing financial protection for their staff, enhancing their well-being and improving employee engagement. Our membership includes insurers, reinsurers, intermediaries and those operating in (or with other interests in) the UK group risk market. Together this forms a collective wealth of experience built over many years. Under the chairmanship of Colin Fitzgerald  (Distribution Director – Group Protection, L&G Retail) GRiD aims to promote group risk through a collective voice to Government, policymakers, stakeholders and employers.

GRiD works with government departments and regulators involved in legislation and regulation affecting group risk benefits, and with other organisations involved in the benefits and financial protection arenas. GRiD also seeks to enhance the industry’s standing by encouraging best practice and by participating in industry-wide initiatives such as the professional qualification in group risk managed jointly with the Chartered Insurance Institute.

GRiD’s media activity aims to generate a wider awareness and understanding of group risk products and their benefits for employers and employees.

GRiD’s dedicated spokesperson, Katharine Moxham, provides expert media comment on a full range of group risk issues.

Follow Katharine Moxham on Twitter @KMoxham