10/01/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/01/2018 06:18
Commenting on Rt Hon Philip Hammond's speech to the Conservative Party Conference, Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, said:
'It is hugely positive to see that the chancellor has placed business right at the heart of the Government's drive to improve the lives and prosperity of ordinary working people across the U.K.'
'Manufacturing alone accounts for 2.7million British jobs. People are at the heart of manufacturing businesses, but many employers still struggle to fill key job roles. Today's announcement to expand access to high quality learning in STEM subjects for more working people is welcome and a positive step to plugging the skills gap.'
'EEF has long campaigned for changes to the Apprenticeship Levy; it is vital that we reverse the dramatic reduction in the number of apprenticeships in the last 12 months.'
'Today's announcement to increase the amount of unused funds employers can transfer to businesses in their supply chain is one of the flexibilities EEF has been calling for.'
'The wider review into the Apprenticeship Levy is again something that EEF has called and the announcement by the Chancellor is a long awaited and positive step forward - We hope he will consider our calls for an extension to the lifetime of available funds and the cap on spending for high quality training.'
Stephen Phipson added:
'Weak management practices have affected UK business performance and productivity for some time and while there are some stand out examples of good practice, this is an acute problem which needs government involvement if we are to solve the productivity challenge. The Chancellor is therefore right to place a strong focus on this and today's announcement of a Small Business Leadership Programme to provide targeted management training for small businesses leaders is a good start to fixing this ingrained challenge across UK firms.'