Headlines: July 2nd, 2002

The TUC says that the worst regions of unemployment in the UK are also those with poor basic skills among the workforce.The union organisation says that independent figures show that a lack of skills is an important part of explaining low productivity in the UK economy.

It argues that Regional Development Agencies are well placed to break the link between low productivity, high unemployment and low skills but they need extra funding.

The TUC is planning some heavy lobbying over the next week, ahead of the Chancellor’s Comprehensive Spending Review, to press its case for Regional Development Agencies to gain real power to open up the UK’s poorer areas to investment, innovation and workforce development.

Recent estimates show that 54% of the UK workforce has skills below NVQ level 2, compared with 32% in France and 20% in Germany but the TUC report shows that these skills are unevenly distributed across the country.

In the North East, South Tyneside, Middlesborough and Sunderland are at the top of league for both unemployment and poor literacy and numeracy.

Link: www.tuc.org.uk