Hunt backs vocational training

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The Independent Online
DAVID HUNT, Secretary of State for Employment, yesterday backed a scheme to give companies tax relief for achieving a high standard of vocational training.

Mr Hunt commended a report published by employer-led Training and Enterprise Councils that urges the establishment of financial incentives for businesses achieving the 'Investors in People' kitemark - a Government-backed standard.

Ministers are keen to boost the programme so that it attracts more participants, especially among medium and small-sized firms.

The study also urged the Government to give TECs more power to regenerate local economies. The councils are demanding more input in planning and implementing local and regional development programmes and targeting European Union funds.

In a foreword to the report, Mr Hunt described the proposals as 'sensible, practical and timely'.

The call for a new strategy comes after TEC board members, thought to represent companies employing a quarter of the British workforce, complained that the councils were merely administering government schemes for the unemployed, rather than using their business expertise to spark off economic growth.

TEC directors are seeking to emphasise 'enterprise' as well as 'training'.