Government wasted hundreds of millions on training places, MPs say

THE government wasted hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayer money to fund training places that employers would have stumped up for, according to an influential group of MPs.

In a highly critical report published today, the public accounts committee will say that the government’s Train to Gain programme has been “mismanaged from the outset”.

Edward Leigh MP, chairman of the committee, said: “With expenditure on Train to Gain totalling nearly £900m by the end of 2008-2009, it is sobering … to learn that around one half of employers whose employees received training say that they would have provided similar training without any public subsidy.”

The report will also say that the programme, which has funded around 1.4m trainees, was plagued by over-ambitious targets and under-spending in its first two years.

And when the recession hit and pushed up demand for training places, the programme began to overspend massively, the report will say.

Richard Wainer, the head of education at employers’ organisation the CBI also criticised the programme, saying it needed to “achieve better value for money”.