Budget news: how will it affect workplace learning?

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A summary of the Chancellor's announcements yesterday which are likely to have an impact on learning in the workplace:

  • The New Deal scheme for the unemployed is to be extended at a cost of £200 million, with specific initiatives to help meet skills needs in areas particularly affected by shortages such as IT, construction, retail and financial services in a move to try and 'match' skills with vacancies. There will also be more coaching for job seekers.

  • The Chancellor stated that "the demands of the new economy mean we are likely to need 2 1/2 million more employees at degree or higher degree levels", stating that the government had responsibilities to provide incentives for work and training. He added that the government was prepared to consider the case for a new tax credit for training to back up the existing tax relief available, but no definite commitment was made.

  • £1 billion is being allocated to extend the Modern Apprenticeship programme, with the intention of increasing the number of participants from 220,000 to 320,000.

  • IR35 - the legislation which affects those working as independent contractors in IT and financial consultancy, and as such affects some IT trainers, remains in place and is likely to be fought against in the courts.

To read the full details of yesterday's speech, visit

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