Budget Bewilders Master Builders

The construction industries largest trade association has spoken out on the recent budget's failure to tackle skills and training in Scotland.

The Federation of Master builders (FMB) has criticised the 2007 Scottish spending review for overlooking the need for apprenticeships, and the provision of skills and training.

Grahame Barn, Director of FMB Scotland, said: "FMB Scotland is disappointed that there was little mention of skills and training in the Budget.

"FMB Scotland's 655 member companies alone employ over 800 apprentices. We had hoped that the Government would want to build on this success to ensure that Scotland has a skilled workforce to build the 35,000 plus new homes that the Government intends to build annually and the infrastructure for the 2014 Commonwealth games."

Westminster has since announced plans for a skills push with its 'British jobs for British workers' policy, which plans to upgrade the skills of the English workforce with the introduction of 3.5 million literacy and numeracy courses. But it is unclear whether these plans will directly benefit Scottish workers.

However, Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney said about the budget: "I am setting out ambitious spending plans for the next three years despite the tightest UK spending settlement since devolution. This budget puts the interests of Scotland first. We are delivering on our pledges by governing creatively, innovatively, prudently and well.

Minister Swinney also stated the government's purpose was to "create a more successful Scotland through increased sustainable economic growth," and that the budget for the next three years was "aligned to achieving that purpose."

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