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Pre-Budget Report: pledge to upskill the young and equip the over-50s to find work

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The Government is to invest in the skills of young people and offer more support for people over 50 to find work.

This afternoon the chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, announced in his Pre- Budget Report speech that from January the Government would guarantee no one under the age of 24 should be without a job or training for more than six months.

He announced more support and skills training for people over 50 to help them find employment.

He also pledged support for 10,000 graduates from "lower earning backgrounds" to help them find internships to improve their skills and employability.

Predicting a 1%-1.5% economic growth in 2010, Darling said: "To promote growth we need to invest in the skills of young people... unemployment can never be a price worth paying."

The chancellor added: "I will guarantee anyone in work will always be better off than if they were on benefits." 

But Anthony Evans, assistant professor of economics at ESCP Europe Business School, told HR magazine: "The Government should be investing in recruitment. But throwing money at jobseekers is not going to solve the problem. It is hard and expensive for employers to recruit - so until there is tax and national insurance breaks to aid recruitment, the problem could remain."