Business leaders have set out their Christmas wish list to government as it approaches its last big parliamentary day of the year.
Chancellor Gordon Brown will be unveiling the government’s financial plans in the pre-budget speech on Wednesday 6 December.
On the same day, Sandy Leitch will be presenting a government-commissioned report on skills shortages. Leitch was asked to identify what policy changes were needed to prepare the UK for global competition in 2020.
Employers believe government should offer more practical ways of training workers, as well as improving the education of children.
A spokesman for manufacturers’ organisation the EEF said: “Manufacturers are investing more in training, but they are being badly let down by an inadequate skills system.
“The current clutter and confusion needs to be swept away and replaced by a sector-focused system which has the company and the individual at its heart.”
CBI deputy director-general John Cridland said: “We hope the Leitch Report will recognise the need for an injection of market dynamics. We need to empower the employer and the employee.
“Companies are not using vocational courses. We need new ways of getting to dysfunctional, middle-aged workers and 18 to 24-year-olds that are dropping out [of the employment system] completely.”
On the pre-budget speech, companies want a simplified business tax system – and lower business tax.
CBI director-general Richard Lambert said: “In today’s world of global markets, companies have many more choices to make about where to invest capital and their talent than they did in the past.
“Business needs a clear signal that the UK is going to shift course, first by checking the trend to a more burdensome business tax regime, and then by moving back up the competitiveness league tables.”