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Leitch Report

Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

Last summer, the Government published “World Class Skills”, which sets out our plans for implementing the Leitch recommendations. To support that ambitious reform programme, total Government investment in adult skills will increase to £5.3 billion by 2010-11. That increase in investment will support more than 7 million learners in the period 2008-09 to 2010-11.

In Swansea, there is a wonderful flagship development called the SA1 project, in which small and medium-sized enterprises can relocate to an old dockland area. Many of those companies have fewer than 20 employees and they are reluctant to invest in skills and training because of time and financial pressures. Will the Secretary of State consider how we can invest in and support them by advising and guiding them on how they can invest in the training and skills agenda?

I am sure that my hon. Friend heard my earlier statement about investment in the leadership and management of small and medium-sized enterprises in England. That is precisely designed to ensure that the leadership of small companies understand their skills needs and are supported in using public money. We have shown that that model works in England and we are expanding it dramatically. I hope that the devolved Administrations, who bear responsibility for skills in their areas, will look at it and see what would be appropriate for their circumstances.