Another hopeful sign highlighted in the issue comes from the progress being made in plugging the skills shortages, a headache that has frustrated the UK economy for a long time. As David Smith reports 574(p34), the Government claims to be providing practical assistance with the introduction of the Skills Task Force and a further £90 million of funding.
The task force is intended to identify where the worst shortages are and advise on practical ways to ameliorate them. The funding is intended to help with training, particularly in the IT and communications sectors.
Some of it will be spent on training 20,000 people to tackle the millennium bug.
It is still too early to judge whether this adds up to a coherent and effective way of tackling a problem that afflicts about three-quarters of all firms, according to figures from Reed Employment Services. But at least a start appears to have been made.