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I am grateful to my hon. Friend. It is a lamentable record that almost 1 million young people are classed as NEETs. That is a waste for them and their futures, and for their communities and our economy generally. Those young people have so much to contribute, but they cannot get on in life if they are not given opportunities because they are not trained and do not have the skills. If that is the case, they are unable to do something for themselves, or for their communities and our country generally.
Britain needs to grow stronger out of this recession. It will do so if it can invest in the skills that mean that people can adapt, develop and take advantage of the new jobs and opportunities that are coming along. This Budget will get rid of over-regulation and red tape, and I hope that it will allow businesses to expand and create the jobs that we need.
Regrettably, we are starting from a weak skills base, with 5 million people in this country classed as functionally illiterate and millions more struggling with basic numeracy and literacy skills. Those are really important reminders of Labour's failure on skills, and they highlight the need for fresh thinking and new ideas. Those are not just figures: we are talking about real people, and we on this side of the House are just as passionate as Opposition Members about providing opportunities for young people to get jobs.
Some of Labour's skills programmes are not working, with Train to Gain providing public subsidy for courses that some employers would pay for anyway. That does not represent getting value for taxpayers' money, but the Budget shows that that is something that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his team are looking at. This Government want to help people, but they also want to make sure that they are getting good value for the taxpayer.
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