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03Sep92 UK: TRAINING AND ENTERPRISE COUNCILS' CHIEF SLAMS TRAINING CUT.

The leader of the Training and Enterprise Councils has made an unprecedented public attack on Government plans to cut the training budget next year.A cut would plunge construction training into further uncertainty at a time when the Construction Industry Training Board is under Government review.Edward Roberts, who chairs the TEC network, warned that more spending cuts would hit training quality, the number of trainees, and could even force small TECs to close.He said even a standstill budget would not allow TECs to meet demand for training from school leavers and unemployed adults.Brain Flint, director of industrial relations at the Federation of Master Builders, said: 'We have said all along that if TEC budgets are cut we would be in serious difficulty for training.'If the Government were to abolish the CITB statutory levy too, the training base of the industry would disappear.'Mr Roberts issued his warning after talks between TEC leaders and the employment department on initial allocations for training in next year's public spending round.He said: 'There is a serious risk that a number of the smaller TECs will cease to be available.'Employment secretary Gillian Shephard amazed listeners at the TECs' national conference in July when she hinted that the training budget faced cuts. Ministers normally promise a strong defence of their department budgets.

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