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What say the Party manifestos on training and development?


All three of the main parties make some mention of training and development in their manifestos.

The Labour Party has reiterated its interest in introducing a new workplace training tax credit, but has stopped short of confirming that it will bring in the credit. The plan to consider a tax credit for training was first raised by the Chancellor in the Budget in March, but the party business manifesto launched this morning by Gordon Brown remains vague about whether money will actually be committed to the project. Labour also plans to increase the numbers participating in New Deal, and bring in new schemes to tackle problems of basic literacy and numeracy. If re-elected, the government will also set up 6,000 IT learning centres around the country.

For their part, the Conservatives plan to repeal the controversial IR35 legislation affecting many of those in the IT industry, but make little mention of the need to develop skills other than to encourage stronger links between Higher Education and business, although their manifesto does state that they plan to 'strengthen vocational training in areas where there are deficiencies at present' by directing funds from the DTI to 'business-led' organisations to provide training for small businesses.

The Liberal Democrats have committed themselves to introduce tax incentives for SMEs to improve training. If elected, they'll also require all registered companies to report on staff training and development in their annual reports and accounts. If elected, they plan to extend the reforms carried out over the last year by the Labour Party by amalgamating the recently-formed Learning and Skills Council and the Higher Education Funding Council into a single Learning Council for England. They also plan to remove some of the bureaucracy surrounding NVQs and give every adult the chance to acquire a level 2 qualification and an Individual Learning Account. In addition, their manifesto states that every 16-24 year-old will be entitled to study leave with pay, and NTOs will be allowed to conduct ballots of member employers to establish whether a training levy is feasible.


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