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Hammond pledges £100m for National Retraining Scheme

Chancellor Philip Hammond has also pledged to 'evolve' the apprenticeship levy to address concerns from businesses

Philip Hammond told the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham the government will set aside £100 million for a national retraining scheme

The chancellor of the exchequer has announced £100 million for its National Retraining Scheme as part of a conference speech that put further education and skills at the front of the government’s economic strategy.

Philip Hammond told the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham that the government was working for people's children and grandchildren. 

He added: "We can tell them how we are making sure working people have the support they need to navigate the challenge of automation to a higher-wage future with a new system of T level vocational training, millions of high-quality apprenticeships and a world-first National Retraining Scheme.

"Today I can announce a £100 million initial commitment to delivering this scheme in partnership with the CBI and the TUC."

It is not yet clear whether this funding includes the £76 million initially pledged in November 2017 - a £36 million investment in digital skills courses using artificial intelligence, and £40 million for construction training programmes.

Levy reforms 

On the apprenticeship levy, Mr Hammond acknowledged there were concerns about how the reforms were working.

He added: "So today we’ve set out a series of measures to allow firms more flexibility in how the levy is spent. But we know that we may need to do more to ensure that the levy supports the development of the skilled workforce our economy needs.  

"So in addition to these new flexibilities, we will engage with business on our plans for the long-term operation of the levy. Working hand-in-hand with employers to ensure that every young person can fulfil their potential and achieve their dreams."

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