The EC will study how tax benefits could be used to encourage a greater emphasis on training throughout Europe. ‘To keep pace with developments in technology, particular attention should be given to workplace training,’ said Anna Diamantopoulou, member of the commission responsible for employment and social affairs.
These will be debated at a European Council meeting in March, where details on the type of tax incentives are expected to be provided.
‘Encouraging training through tax incentives is a real priority,’ said Anne Lindsay, senior policy advisor at the CBI.
The proposals to introduce tax breaks for training have received a warm response from the Confederation of British Industry.
The CBI, in conjunction with the Trade Union Congress, presented to the government last month their plans for improving training. ‘It must be addressed at a national level,’ said Lindsay.
Among the CBI-TUC proposals are calls for tax credits for firms investing in basic skills training, and for small firms following the Investors in People scheme. IIP provides a route to ensure that training is closely aligned with business objectives.
But concerns over the economy have led many firms to reconsider their IT training investment.
‘We are seeing a definite softening in demand for classroom based training. While there has been some increase in demand for e-learning, the overall demand is down,’ said Ray Geoghan, vice-president of business development at training firm Global Knowledge.
The calls for tax incentives for training have long come from industry bodies such as the CSSA, business group the London Chamber of Commerce, and the Mayor of London.
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