Commenting on Budget 2015, delivered yesterday (Wednesday 18th March 2015) by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
"Firms need an apprenticeship system that is simple, flexible and easy to use – with a range of funding options to cater to companies with different needs."
"It's right to give employers more purchasing power when it comes to apprenticeship funding, as this will help ensure apprenticeships are delivered to an ever-higher standard. The voucher system announced today appears to be a step in the right direction, but we will wait to see if the government can deliver a model that doesn't significantly increase bureaucracy."
Here are some of the key points from Budget 2015 relating to labour market, skills and innovation:
- The government will launch a review into funding for postgraduate research, and assessing options to strengthen partnerships and co-funding between government, industry and charities.
- Income-contingent loans of up to £25,000 to support PhDs and research-based masters degrees. This was announced in the Autumn Statement 2014.
- Introduction of an Apprenticeship Voucher will be fully implemented from 2017. As confirmed at Autumn Statement 2013, the government and employers will make cash contributions towards the cost of training for apprentices.
The government will also fund these science and innovation investments:
- £138 million funding for Research in Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC).
- £100 million for Research and Development into Intelligent Mobility.
- £40 million for demonstrator programmes, business incubator space and a research hub to develop applications for Internet of Things technologies in healthcare and social care, and Smart Cities.
- Further £100 million in research projects through the current UK Research Partnership Investment Fund round.
For more information about Budget 2015 and the reaction from the British Chambers of Commerce visit the British Chambers of Commerce website.