The British Chambers of Commerce has today welcomed the Schools White Paper and Government proposals to reform the education system. Commenting on the new proposals, BCC President, Bill Midgley said:"Greater injection of the business ethos into our education system is very much needed and we support moves by the Government to allow businesses to become more involved in the running of schools.

"Giving schools more autonomy in how they are managed and involving business in this process will help to make the education system more responsive to the needs of the local community and economy, as well as reducing bureaucracy and increasing efficiency in the sector.

"The greater involvement of business in the sector will also help ensure that all young people, whether they go on to academic education, vocational training or straight into employment, are well prepared for the world of work.

"Businesses constantly tell us that too many young people leave the education system without the basic functional skills they will need in the workplace. Employers are also finding it difficult to recruit people with higher level skills.

"Over half of small firms in the service sector have experienced problems recruiting staff this year, up from 43.8 per cent in 2004 to 50.4 per cent now. In the last quarter, small and micro firms experienced the greatest difficulties.

"Business welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with the school sector to help create a world-class education system that serves the needs of all our young people as well as those of the economy and the wider community."