In a response resonant only of faint praise, EEF chief executive Terry Scuoler said that although the Statement contained some useful measures on apprenticeships, skills and business rates, it failed to send a clear signal to industry that now was the right time to invest and create new jobs. He went on: “In particular, it failed to address the growing threat to investment from energy prices that are squeezing margins and racing ahead of our competitors.”
On measures to boost apprenticeships, director of policy at EEF, Steve Radley, said that placing funding in the hands of the employer wouldl create “a truly responsive, relevant skills system that delivers high quality apprenticeships”. But he added: “Government must build a system that is made to last and resistant to the constant chop and change we have seen in the past.”
On the announced cut to national insurance, he added: “Cutting national insurance payments for employers who hire young people will also help to make inroads into youth unemployment and help firms bring new skills into their business”
Tim Thomas, head of EEF employment & skills policy backed increases in the state pension age, saying it was the right policy and was backed up with measures to support saving for retirement.
Copyright Ken Hurst 2013