The Government’s austerity measures include a £5 billion reduction in spending in Britain. This includes a £350 million cutback in job training for young British people — while the £8 billion foreign aid budget remains untouched.
According to newspaper reports, official Government documents show that the much-vaunted “apprenticeship training programme” announced earlier this year by Gordon Brown is yet another despicable lie.
Confidential papers obtained by a newspaper show that instead of increasing investment in training, skills and apprenticeships, Mr Brown and his colleagues have prepared £350m of cuts in that budget for the 2010–11 period.
This will result in hundreds of thousands of fewer training places for young people. The leaked documents also show that the cuts will make it nearly impossible for young people to acquire grants to obtain training and higher qualifications.
All this took place as it was announced that the Department of Foreign Aid and International Development (DFID) had invested £18 million to an “Employment Creation Fund” in South Africa; £76 million for road building in the Democratic Republic of Congo and £50 million to Nigeria to combat malaria.
The new memorandum, titled “Protected — Funding Policy” was sent on 12 October by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to business secretary Lord Mandelson and skills minister Kevin Brennan. It contained proposals for cutting the skills training budget.
According to the memo, the cuts will affect the 19-plus age group who want to attend courses at colleges, independent training companies, or become apprentices.
The memorandum states specifically that a £252 million cut will significantly impact the delivery of the “Train to Gain,” “Adult Apprentices” and “Skills for Life” programmes.
The document goes on to estimate that a cut of £100 million will ensure that “a total 133,000 learners” will be denied places. According to BIS’s own methodology, the total reduction of “learners” would, therefore, be 335,000. In 2008–09 there were 3.7 million learners aged 19-plus.
* Anyone who thinks that the Tories will be any better, would do well to study the recently released Conservative policy paper on foreign aid. Not only have they promised to make further cuts to the budget spend inside Britain — in other words to cut even more from front line services — the Tories have promised to double the foreign aid budget.
In the Tweedledee/Tweedledum world of the Tory/Labour party, one thing is sure: British people are always put last.
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