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Jobs and skills top of regional agenda


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05 Jan 2009 00:02

Employment and skills will be top of the agenda when the Prime Minister meets leading business and regional figures at the Regional Economic Council today (Monday 5th January).

The Council's second meeting will bring senior members of the government together with business, union and regional representatives to discuss regional economies.

The Department for Business also announced today that more than 10,000 businesses across the UK have already taken the opportunity of free Business Health Checks launched in October last year.

Each check, provided by the government's Business Link service, ensures that firms maximise their cash flow, marketing and business planning in the current economic climate.

Chancellor Alistair Darling said:

"In these tough economic times, our priority must be to reduce the impact of the slow-down on the whole of the UK and we are committed to continued investment to deliver for families and businesses across the country.

"Today's meeting is a welcome opportunity to discuss with employers, development agencies, local authorities and unions what more the Government can do help people and businesses."

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said:

"It is vital that we listen to businesses and support them through these difficult times.

"Everyone across central and local government needs to work together to make sure we take effective action to support workers and businesses.

"I hope businesses take advantage of the free help and advice on offer from a Business Health Check. We want to ensure firms get the support they need to plan for the times ahead and come out stronger on the other side."


1. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Chancellor Alistair Darling, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills John Denham, regional ministers and other government figures will attend the meeting.

2. The Regional Economic Council first met in November 2008.

3. Today's call for businesses to undergo a check is part of a range of initiatives to help businesses - including the 1bn loan guarantee scheme, a separate 1bn loan guarantee scheme for exporters, a 50m fund to convert debt into equity, and action to encourage speedy payment of bills in both the public and private sectors.

4. Business Health Checks provide firms with qualified Business Link experts to help draw-up tailor made action plans designed to shore up their businesses and avoid the potential pitfalls of the economic downturn. Business Link also provides a follow up monitoring service to ensure that their plan is working for them.

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Crown Copyright. Material taken from the BERR- Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform replacing DTI - Department for Trade and Industry. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use Licence.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-01-05 21:47:18 in Business Articles

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