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Pre-Budget Report: Business roundup

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Budget

In his pre-budget report, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown said that he wanted to meet “US levels of productivity” and to achieve a faster rate of growth than competitors.

To meet the productivity challenge, the Chancellor announced a number of measures including:

  • The creation of a National Employer Training Programme to enable employers to give their workers free training and reduce the percentage of the workforce (30%) that is unskilled. This is to be rolled out from 2006 and cover the whole country by 2007-2008 and fully subsidise costs of training to level 2

  • Formation of an independent review to examine the future skill needs of the UK economy (to be headed by Sandy Leitch, chairman of the National Employment Council)

  • Steps to reduce the regulatory burden on business, extending common commencement dates for new legislation (April 6 and October 1)

  • Improvements to the current regime of regulatory inspection and enforcement

  • A new small business unit within Revenue & Customs will examine how to manage the compliance burden

  • Implementation of the Graham Review of the Small Loans Guarantee Scheme by the end of next year

  • Assisting business raise finance for research & development through implementation of the Science and Innovation Investment Framework

He added that the government was committed to ensuring it would not regulate beyond the minimum requirements of European legislation and to making sure “businesses do not face unnecessary burdens from European law.”

The CBI praised the Chancellor’s strategy for improving productivity, and said in a statement, “Overall business will be pleased with what the Chancellor has delivered. He is right to equip the UK for the serious competitive threats this country now faces. His assurance that nothing will be done to harm the stable macro-economy is vital for everyone in the country.”


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