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East Midlands Chamber News

Government support to boost skills and prosperity

The Government today announced a package of measures to support business to boost skills, growth and prosperity in the new economy, including money to carry out a study into development of the area around Toton.


The Chancellor Philip Hammond, speaking at the Conservative Party Conference, pledged support for apprenticeships, adult training, to boost management skills in small businesses and to ensure the UK’s world-class regulatory system is fit for the future.


He announced a package of reforms and £95m increase to the Apprenticeship Levy to ensure it continues to help businesses train people with the skills they need for the new economy.


A recent Government review of productivity found the UK’s thriving small business community is facing a management skills challenge. To address this, the Chancellor announced £20m will be invested in networks to enable small businesses to learn from each other and from world-leading firms. 


Over 100 mentors from household-name brand companies have already signed up to offer management expertise.


He said a further £11m will pay for a training programme that will build the necessary management skills lacking in many SMEs. This programme will help 2,000 businesses in its first year, with an ambition to train 10,000 people a year by 2025.


The Government also wants to work with employers to give every worker the opportunity to upskill or retrain for the new economy and to this end the Chancellor pledged £100m for the first phase of the National Retraining Scheme, announced in the previous Budget, which will be rolled out next year.


He said this will include a new careers guidance service, with expert advice to help people identify work opportunities in their area and what they need to do to get the skills to land available jobs.


This will be backed up with state-of-the-art courses combining online learning with traditional classroom teaching to help people develop the key transferable skills for jobs of the future.


He said the UK has a world-class regulatory system which protects the interests of consumers but it needs to be fit to respond to the challenges of the future to remain cutting-edge. 


The Chancellor announced he will commission the National Infrastructure Commission to carry out an independent study of the telecoms, energy and water regulators. This will ensure they have the ability to encourage investment, promote competition and innovation and meet the needs of consumers in the 21st Century.


Finally, he announced £2m for the Midlands Engine Partnership to support a study into how best to redevelop the area around Toton in the East Midlands, to ensure it maximises the growth opportunities offered by HS2.


Chamber Chief Executive Scott Knowles said: “Development around the HS2 station at Toton represents a huge opportunity that will positively impact the whole of the East Midlands. The feasibility study should ensure we maximise the opportunities around Toton and the wider HS2 project in this region and into South Yorkshire.”