Employers are bracing themselves for a run of announcements in the next few days as the government clears the decks for a general election.
Prime minister Gordon Brown is increasingly expected to declare on Tuesday that he will go to the nation on or before 1 November. This would put MPs under purdah restrictions from Tuesday – meaning they are unable to make political announcements until after an election.
The government is therefore likely to rush out a series of decisions before Monday evening – including the long-awaited Comprehensive Spending Review.
This will set out departmental funding from April 2008 to March 2011 and, combined with the Pre-Budget Report on the same day, will give a big indication of the Brown government’s priorities.
Employers have called for a boost to the skills budget, while councils have asked for money to help solve the equal pay crisis.
In particular, a submission by manufacturing body the EEF called for action to improve the quantity and quality of science, technology, engineering and maths graduates.
“Spending plans in the forthcoming Spending Review must ensure adequate funding for facilities and equipment for science subjects as part of the Building Schools for the Future programme,” it said.
The government could also reveal the terms of the new dispute resolution system before Tuesday, as well as other employment policies designed to win votes.