Issue 12

POLICY SHORTS

By Professor Richard Kerley, Editor, Scottish Policy Now

Bob (less) the Builder?

The Federation of Master Builders recently claimed 66% of construction firms have been forced to turn down work because of a shortage of skilled workers. This follows the Local Government Association’s declaration that the UK is training “too many hairdressers and not enough bricklayers.” House builders including Persimmon and Barratt Developments have warned that a shortage of skilled construction workers is hitting the housing market by holding back the building of new property. In Scotland the shortages cover a number of trades in the construction process.

Wage growth & Care squeeze?

Government plans to introduce a national living wage will force care homes to close, according to five major providers. In an open letter to George Osborne, Four Seasons Health Care, Bupa UK, HC-One, Care UK and Barchester, say that the “cost of the living wage would mean that we could see hundreds of care homes closing, leaving thousands of older people without a home."

The figures for company results appear to suggest that running care homes does not yield the returns on capital it did some years ago and even though this claim will be part of a negotiating stance a wage bill increase of more than 10% in one year will have some impact on operators.  Prepare for a similar discussion between Scottish care homes, CoSLA and the Scottish Government.

0 Hours and employment options

According to research by Glassdoor, a recruitment website, nearly one in four jobs being offered to the unemployed are on zero-hours contracts. Glassdoor found that 23% of unemployed adults were offered a zero-hours contract, with 47% turning them down. About 30% of jobseekers were unhappy with the irregular hours, 54% said they needed to be assured of a guaranteed level of income and 13% said they were put off by negative press coverage.

And across the employment sectors ‘0’ hours continue to be a factor , with public services in Scotland also affected. Is your organisation in this category?

Vape on that?

A review by Public Health England (PHE) has suggested that GPs should be able to prescribe e-cigarettes on the NHS, because vaping is 95% less harmful than tobacco. PHE said much of the public wrongly believes that e-cigarettes carry health risks in the same way cigarettes do. However, they say this is not the case and they want to see smokers taking up the electronic devices to reduce the thousands of people dying from tobacco-related diseases every year.

And here in Scotland, though the incidence of smoking continues to reduce, we are still doing slightly worse than in England and Wales. So is there even more of a case for prescribing ‘vapes’ here?

 

 

By Professor Richard Kerley, Editor, Scottish Policy Now

Issue 12

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