British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak meets with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (not pictured), in London, Britain June 3, 2021. REUTERS / Hannah McKay / File Photo

LONDON, October 23 (Reuters) – UK Finance Minister Rishi Sunak plans to announce an additional £ 3bn ($ 4.1bn) in new funding for continuing education in next week’s budget in part of the government’s efforts to boost skills training, officials said on Saturday. .

Their remarks follow £ 6.9bn in funding for regional transport investments, £ 1.5bn more than expected, as the government seeks to improve living standards outside London thanks to its “leveling” program. Read more

Sunak is expected to set fairly strict limits for most areas of daily government spending in its budget on Wednesday, which will seek to reduce public debt after a record increase in borrowing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

But unlike the policy of his Tory predecessors after the 2008-09 financial crisis, he will give more leeway to long-term public investments aimed at rewarding voters who backed Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the December 2019 election.

The bulk of the money spent on education will support English students aged 16 to 19 studying a new qualification as an alternative to the traditional leaving exams which are the normal route to university, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Finances.

Some £ 550million will fund education and training for older people, including numeracy skills and three- to four-month courses in areas such as digital skills, construction and roles in the rail industries and nuclear.

The Johnson government is keen to promote apprenticeship and other alternatives to standard college degrees, which it says offer poor job prospects for many students and do too little to tackle skills shortages in the industry.

Just over half of English school leavers went to university in the 2018/19 school year, up from 42% in 2006/07.

“Our skills reforms and this additional investment will help more people continue to develop and retrain throughout their lives and will open the door to careers in highly skilled industries,” the education minister said. Nadhim Zahawi.

Meanwhile, business organizations have cautiously greeted the announcements they expect from Sunak, which will encourage foreign investment in Britain and expand a lending program to businesses struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

So far, the government has not released any data on the amount of loans under the payback loan program, which was launched in March and was originally scheduled to end in December.

“The litmus test for the program will be whether it is able to support the recovery by providing credit to companies that need it most,” said Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chamber of Commerce.

($ 1 = 0.7272 pounds)

Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Timothy Heritage

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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