By Marcus Leach

Unite has called business secretary Vince Cable's decision not to extend the right to request time off work for training to firms employing fewer than 250 employees an anti-growth measure.

Commenting on Vince Cable's decision Tony Burke, Unite assistant general secretary, said: "This government seems to think growth equates to attacking workers' rights. The better trained a worker the more Britain benefits but Vince Cable would rather give bad employers who don’t want to train their workforce properly a nudge and a wink.

"This is yet another short sighted decision from this Tory-led government. Britain needs a skilled workforce that is constantly learning if we are to generate growth, innovate and compete in the global economy.

"The business secretary should be thinking long term - looking at the big picture. Instead, he is keeping the business lobby happy with short-term cost cutting measures which Britain will eventually have to pay for as we watch our competitors leave us for dust.

"There is absolutely no sensible reason why millions of workers should be denied the right to request training just because of the size of their employer."