Skills White Paper

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:33 pm on 22nd March 2005.

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Photo of Tony Lloyd Tony Lloyd Labour, Manchester Central 12:33 pm, 22nd March 2005

I very much welcome today's statement. It is vital that we get the skills equation right, and I hope that my right hon. Friend will not listen to the blandishments of the Conservative party, which, when in government, betrayed this nation through its failure to develop a policy on skills. She rightly talks about a partnership between all the parties on skills training, and that is a good and healthy start. The best employers always trained well, and the good employers will train. We have a problem, however, with those employers who regard training as simply cost and not benefit or who are resistant to any training whatever. Will she always keep in mind that we need some power to coerce bad employers, as they fail not only their employees—and their businesses, interestingly—but the nation?