Government Investment in Skills

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th July 2017.

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Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Conservative, Saffron Walden 12:00 am, 18th July 2017

What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the effect of Government investment in skills since 2010.

Photo of Steve Barclay Steve Barclay The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

Treasury Ministers have engaged on a regular basis with the Secretary of State for Education. We will double spending on apprenticeships over the decade to 2020, allowing 3 million apprenticeship starts in England by 2020 and giving people the best start in their career.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Conservative, Saffron Walden

Since 2010, the substantial increase in apprenticeships has helped many young people into work. Stansted airport in my constituency is a great provider of apprenticeships, and its employment academy placed 700 people into work in the last year alone. Does the Minister agree that apprenticeships have contributed to the record low level of youth unemployment?

Photo of Steve Barclay Steve Barclay The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

I very much agree with my hon. Friend. In fact, there are 55,000 fewer young people unemployed than there were a year ago, thanks in large part to the investment that this Government are putting into apprenticeships.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

Is the Minister aware that if we are going to do anything about skills or productivity in our country and our communities, we have got to look to local further education colleges? Will he support, with money, resources and leadership, the introduction of a practical maths course to help young people who are waiting in colleges up and down the country, struggling to get apprenticeships? Will he talk to the Education Secretary about doing that, to get these young people on their way?

Photo of Steve Barclay Steve Barclay The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

The hon. Gentleman will welcome the Government’s record investment of £500 million in T-levels, to tackle exactly the issue that he has raised in technical education. The Government’s commitment can also be seen in apprenticeships. Whereas under the last Labour Government there were just 280,000 apprenticeship starts, there were more than half a million last year under this Government.