Skills and Training Funding

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th November 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Alan Mak Alan Mak Conservative, Havant 12:00 am, 6th November 2018

What fiscal steps he is taking to provide funding for skills and training.

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

By 2019-20, we will be spending £2.5 billion on apprenticeships in England every year through the apprenticeship levy. In this Budget, we have given employers more flexibility to deploy it as they see best.

Photo of Alan Mak Alan Mak Conservative, Havant

Greater investment in STEM—science, technology, engineering and maths—skills is key to boosting employment in our growing digital economy. What support can the Chief Secretary give to ensure more training is available to our next generation of scientists, engineers and tech entrepreneurs?

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

My hon. Friend is right. We know that people with STEM skills have higher earnings. That is why we put more money into the maths premium last year to encourage more students to study that subject from 16 to 18. This year, we have launched a new programme to enable the better retention of maths and physics teachers in our schools.

Photo of Gareth Snell Gareth Snell Labour/Co-operative, Stoke-on-Trent Central

If, as the Chief Secretary says, there is now more money for skills funding, why did not the Chancellor announce in his Budget speech an uplifting of the cap on sixth-form and college funding from £4,000, which is causing real problems?

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

What the Chancellor announced in his Budget speech is the fact that we are giving employers more flexibility over apprenticeships, which they have asked for, and we are seeing more and more people going into high-level apprenticeships under this Government.

Photo of Robert Courts Robert Courts Conservative, Witney

West Oxfordshire businesses are thriving, but they are clear that their major challenge is access to people with the right skills. Will the Minister please give an update on the national retraining scheme and how that will help?

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

We put £20 million into the national retraining scheme, and I am very much looking forward to visiting my hon. Friend in Oxfordshire to see some of those fantastic businesses in situ.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

Bearing in mind that two thirds of UK firms have expressed concerns about a skills gap, will the Minister further outline what steps her Department has taken to provide schemes and support to businesses that are willing to take on apprenticeships but have not so far done so?

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right: we want to encourage more small and medium-sized enterprises to take on apprenticeships. That is why we have reduced the level from 10% to 5% for co-investment, which will encourage more small firms to get involved, as well as extending the amount that can be used down the supply chain.