Gordon Brown’s plans to make a fund available to businesses that are prepared to train the unemployed has been blasted by critics who are claiming that the fund is too little, too late. Critics around the country are calling for the Government to do more to ease the impact of the huge number of job losses felt around Britain.
The Prime Minister announced yesterday that he intends to make a £500 million fund available which will pay up to £2,500 to employers who supply training to people who have been unemployed for more than six months.
However, the move has been labelled as being ‘not enough’ by business leaders, unions and especially the Tory party, who are all claiming that the Government needs to do more.
The director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, David Frost, has announced that the Government’s plans will only be effective in a minor way. “With unemployment rising fast and projected to rise by over a million, from what I am seeing companies are not recruiting so I am not sure at this stage in the economic cycle what the offer of a £2,500 grant to take on people is going to do. We have got to focus on retaining those skills within the business because once they’ve gone they’ve gone,” claimed Frost on the BBC’s Radio 4.
However, Mr Brown feels as though the plan will work and is claiming that the Government will not be giving up on the unemployed. “We estimate that with this additional financial support we will be able to help 500,000 people into work or work-focused training over the next two years. We will do everything we can to prevent the global recession turning into a global depression, prevent short-term unemployment turning into long-term unemployment, and to prevent losing your job meaning losing your home. My message is simple – we won’t give up on you, but in turn you must not give up on work, on skills and on training,” claimed Brown at the summit yesterday.
Still, the critics of the plan are not asking the Prime Minister to abandon the unemployed but in fact quite the opposite. However, James Purnell, the work and pensions secretary added in the conference that there were still 500,000 jobs available in the British market and the aim of the fund was to get the unemployed into those jobs.
“The half a billion pounds announced today will be used to guarantee extra support to everyone who reaches six months unemployment. We are determined to provide real help to people in these tough times. Our message is simple – the longer a person is out of work, the harder we will work for them,” claimed Purnell.
The importance of the need for more help by the Government was made even more apparent as the chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, John Wright, announced that 86 small businesses were collapsing everyday through the economic downturn, causing horrendous job losses.
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