Move to boost skills

Moves to radically improve workers' skills to boost the UK's competitiveness are expected to be outlined in an official report this week.

Moves to radically improve workers' skills to boost the UK's competitiveness are expected to be outlined in an official report this week.

The eagerly-awaited findings of a Government review, set to be published on Wednesday as part of the Chancellor's pre-budget report, will press for policy changes and a new approach to "upskill" the nation.

The Association of Colleges, which represents 400 further education establishments, called for a plan to extend education and training to everyone up to the age of 18.

Steady rate

THE Bank of England is widely expected leave interest rates on hold at 5% this week.

The Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) increased the cost of borrowing in August and again last month to the current five-year high as it looked to bring rising inflation under control.

Inflation is still running above the Bank's 2% target at 2.4% but it would be a major shock to economists and the markets if rates are increased on Thursday.

Burberry attack

WELSH Secretary Peter Hain has joined the chorus of attacks against clothing firm Burberry over plans to close a UK factory and transfer production to China.

Mr Hain said he understood why workers at the plant in Treorchy, South Wales, felt "cheated" by the move, which will cost around 300 jobs. In a letter to Burberry's chief executive Angela Ahrendts, he called on the firm to reconsider its decision.

`Green' grid

SIR Richard Branson's airline Virgin Atlantic has announced a new "green" measure to cut down engine running times.

Throughout December, Virgin aircraft will be carrying out trials on so-called "starting grids".

The grids are holding areas, close to a runway and mean that aircraft can be towed closer to a runway before take-off, substantially reducing the time that engines need to be running.

Plans backfire

ATTEMPTS by the Government to engage with the Muslim community have backfired and are driving people into the arms of violent extremists, it was claimed yesterday.

A report by the think tank Demos, to be formally published today, said Government initiatives since the July 7 attacks in London, had tended to "drive a wedge" between Muslims and the wider community rather than isolate the extremists.

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