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Deal with local skills shortages

Last updated: 11:43am 11 January 2019

We will deal with local skills shortages…

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.53

Our verdict

Some areas of Britain have been assessed as suffering from critical local skills shortages. One report by WPI Strategy found that more than 100,000 of 2016’s graduates had left the region where they studied after just six months to take up work elsewhere, with more than 30,000 ending up in London.

We’re looking for evidence that the government has attempted to deal with this issue. One measure is whether there has been action on the promise to “ensure that colleges deliver the skills required by local businesses”. We’ve looked at that separately and currently we’ve judged that policy to be ‘in progress’.

In his 2016 Autumn Statement, Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, announced that the adult education budget would be devolved from London from 2019-20. After the 2017 general election, that plan was reiterated in the Industrial Strategy policy paper which promises to “devolve the adult education budget to mayoral areas in 2019”. The government hopes that change to funding will “help mayors to ensure learners can gain the skills that local businesses need”.

The government has implemented some changes to address local skills shortages and further moves are planned for 2019, so this is ‘in progress’. However, whether this has “dealt with” the issue remains open to debate, as no measurable targets were set. To move this to ‘done’ we would want to see evidence of a significant reduction in local skills shortages, and a broad consensus on improvements across the business community. Follow this policy for updates.

Further reading
Skills shortages reaching ‘critical’ levels warns report – LocalGov
Industrial Strategy: building a Britain fit for the future – Gov.uk

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