Commercial awareness: 3 intelligent things to say about... the Autumn Statement

Some key points to make if you're trying to impress recruiters

If you're going to a business-related interview, careers event or networking opportunity in the next few weeks, the Autumn Statement could very well come up in conversation. It's an important political, economic, business milestone, and the announcements in it will be high on the news agenda for a while.

Making sure that you can summarise some overall themes, understand what they mean in real world terms, and express your own opinions on this important event is likely to really impress an interviewer, recruiter or new contact.

To help you, here is a summary of three aspects of the Autumn Statement that stand out to us - the relevant facts, our thoughts on them, and some pointers to help you form your own views.

"Did you see that the government has pledged to support the UK's fintech sector?"

Fintech (the use of technology in finance) is booming in the UK, and in the Autumn Statement the chancellor announced that he'd like to help it grow more: "The government is determined" he said, "to support a more competitive banking sector where new banks, alternative providers and financial technology (fintech) firms can thrive alongside the established players."

He announced a number of regulatory and tax reliefs for two important kinds of fintech entities: P2Ps, or peer to peer lending platforms, which use technology to enable individuals to lend securely to each other; and crowdfunding platforms, which allow individuals to contribute funds to new businesses or projects.

Add your own opinions

  • How effective do you think these measures will be in reducing the dominance of the retail banking "Big 4" (Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS) in the UK?
  • Do you think these new funding sources could ever replace the mainstream banking system?

"Will we need higher taxes as well as spending cuts to clear the deficit?"

One of the biggest headline points from the Autumn Statement was the size of the deficit, the difference between the government's annual income and annual expenditure. It's due to come in at a whopping approximately £90 billion this year. The deficit has lessened year by year since 2010, but not by anywhere near as much the government had previously predicted - the deficit was originally supposed to have been eliminated by the end of this parliament.

The chancellor was also forced to report in the Autumn Statement that forecasted tax revenues are disappointingly low. When taken with the deficit figure, suggested Labour and the Lib Dems, that means some tax hikes may be needed in the future.

Add your own opinions

  • George Osborne has said that he has no plans for increased taxes and will continue to fund deficit reduction through spending cuts. Is he right?

"There were some good new measures for young people, but perhaps not enough."

There were some announcements in the autumn statement that could potentially help young people, students and graduates. The most notable were the setting up of a new postgraduate loan scheme and the news that the government is abolishing National Insurance contributions for young apprentices, which should make it easier for employers to take them on. There was also some extra money for NHS support for young people with eating disorders.

However, argued the Young Greens, the government's austerity measures are severely damaging young people's career prospects and, as a result, their mental health.

Add your own opinions

  • What more would you have liked to have seen in the Autumn Statement for young people?
  • Do you think an end to austerity would improve or hinder your career prospects and overall quality of life?