Commenting on today's publication of the Education and Skills Bill, Natalie Evans, Head of Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

"It is pleasing to see that the Education and Skills Bill, being published today, recognises the problems businesses face trying to find appropriately skilled employees. We welcome much of what is proposed, in particular the principle behind raising the compulsory participation age to 18 and the introduction of specialist diplomas for 14 to 19 year olds.

"The OECD has previously warned that Britain's poor participation rates beyond the age of 16 threaten our ability to compete globally. An educated and skilled workforce is absolutely essential to the ongoing sustainability of the UK economy and is a serious concern for business."