Budget promises skills boost for UK

Chancellor
Gordon Brown has delivered a Budget that promises increased training for staff,
attempts to get more UK people into work and increased immigration of skilled
workers.

The
chancellor cut his predictions for UK economic growth, but claimed the UK economy
remained stronger than other countries.

Brown
said the UK had experienced the longest period of sustained growth for 50 years
– and is closer to full employment than at any other time in the last 30 years.

He
said the Government was to introduce measures resulting in more flexibility and
enterprise in the labour market and this would lead to full employment in every
region in the UK.

He
promised more health staff, said he was listening to business on red tape, and
would make changes to improve the way Jobcentres operate.

"A
national effort for skills", was the way forward, Brown said, with a
government-funded scheme allowing staff more paid-off time for training.

No
changes to income tax rates and tax allowances were announced.

John
Edmonds, general secretary of the GMB union, said: "This is a ‘Liquorice
Allsorts’ budget, with a little of something for everyone. We will have wait
until the war is over for major decisions, including the euro, but I am very
pleased that Gordon Brown has kept his commitment to public services
spending."

By Quentin Reade

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