From education to employment

Pre-Budget offers education a mixed deal

The Government’s training or education guarantee for 16 and 17 year olds will be extended to 2010, Chancellor Alistair Darling revealed today in his pre-Budget report.

Against a background of rising unemployment, the pre-Budget report also guarantees under-24s work or training after six months of being out of work.

Gerwyn Davies, public policy adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), welcomed the move to ease challenges facing job seekers, but stressed more needed to be done to help older generations as “the challenges facing older workers are set to worsen in the coming months”.

Mr Davies added: “We therefore urge the Chancellor to urgently consider extending the jobs guarantee to ensure over 50s who have been unemployed for more than six months are given the real help they need to get back into work.”

The general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), Dr Mary Bousted, said the decision to cut the amount of time for under 24s to be unemployed to six months before being guaranteed work or training was “sensible”.

However, Dr Bousted added that the Chancellor’s intention to also cap public sector pay to help heal Britain’s deficit woes could be “highly damaging to public services and education”.

Dr Bousted said: “We are deeply unhappy about capping all public sector pay at one per cent for two years because it is too blunt a measure, and will affect the majority on low salaries as much as the few who are highly paid, and is far too long when even the government is forecasting inflation will be three per cent in two years time.

“Instead of funding internships for unemployed undergraduates the money would be better spent on retraining courses.

“It seems perverse to allow bankers to be untaxed on bonuses of up to £25,000 when everyone else is fully taxed on their £25,000 salary including first year teachers.”

(Pictured: Chancellor Alistair Darling)

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