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Brown urges businesses to invest in skills

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British people must become the best trained in the world to beat the challenge of global outsourcing, Chancellor Gordon Brown has warned business leaders.

Speaking at the CBI Conference in Birmingham, Mr Brown committed to working with industry over the next year to “make Britain the best educated, trained and skilled workforce prepared for all challenges ahead.”

Those challenges include the possibility that within 20 years half the world’s manufacturing exports could come from the developing world, he said, while five million US and Euopean jobs could be outsourced within 10 years.

“Each year India and China produce four million graduates compared with just over 250,000 in Britain,” Mr Brown said. “And if we are to succeed in a world where offshoring can be an opportunity, then the acquisition of skills by all – our mission to make the British people the best educated, most skilled best trained country in the world – must become the shared desire and determination of the whole British people from parents and teachers to management and trades unions.”

Mr Brown said that Britain needed to make “long-term choices and decisions” about its economic future. These would include greater investment in technology and scientific skills and greater rewards for enterprise.

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Annie Hayes

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