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Business: Government Assistance

Volume 491: debated on Thursday 23 April 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will bring foward proposals for a scheme based on the same principles as the ProAct scheme for assistance to businesses established by the Welsh Assembly Government. (265508)

We believe that the future success of British industry will be based on a highly skilled workforce. Where production is being reduced we are helping business train their workforces to ensure they emerge from the downturn in the best possible shape to compete in the future.

Training is a devolved responsibility. Each country in the UK makes provision to support business in their own way. The ProAct scheme introduced by the Welsh Assembly Government is a support package aimed at upskilling staff during the economic downturn and helping business prepare for the upturn. The scheme includes a salary replacement element for employees of companies benefiting from the scheme.

In England we have the Train to Gain scheme delivered by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. One element of Train to Gain enables small and medium sized enterprises in England with fewer than 50 employees to access compensation for wages where employees are released for training: This contribution is £5 per hour or un-capped actual hourly wage (employer choice) up to a maximum of 70 hours over a period of time.

Alongside these training measures we are supporting businesses through a number of other measures that have been announced and launched in recent months. These include measures aimed at ensuring credit is available to businesses.