The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has welcomed Chancellor Gordon Brown's plan to offer training to workers with few or no skills or qualifications.
The scheme was at the heart of Brown's pre-Budget statement today and, argued BHA deputy chief executive Martin Couchman, could well be a boon to an industry often bedevilled by low skills.
"We often have people who are lower down the training level. This is something that we would welcome," Couchman said.
Brown's plan is to extend nationally a pilot scheme that has encouraged employers to release workers for training.
Under the scheme, called the Employer Training Programme, employees without GCSE-level or equivalent skills will have the opportunity to take up the extra training, with the Government helping to pay for the time off.
Couchman also flagged up the Chancellor's ten-year childcare strategy, including the extension of paternity leave.
Under Brown's plan, parents with children of three or four years old will be able to access 15 hours of childcare a week, and mothers will be entitled to nine weeks' of paid maternity leave from April 2007.
If such schemes encouraged single parents back in the workplace, or even just made it easier for parents to work, that would be a good thing for the industry, suggested Couchman.
Other announcements in the speech included a clampdown on tax avoidance, and the creation of a small business unit by the Inland Revenue which has floated the idea of a single tax return for small businesses.
by Nic Paton
Buy this week's Caterer magazine for more industry news and analysis