Productivity - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:29 am on 7th November 2017.

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Photo of Lord Fox Lord Fox Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 11:29 am, 7th November 2017

My Lords, I, too, welcome the Minister back to the Dispatch Box. His immediate predecessor gave those of us who are impatient for the industrial strategy White Paper a preview a couple of weeks ago. In that preview he identified three particular strands that will address the productivity issue that this commission has highlighted so well. One of those was skills, and in that he particularly highlighted apprenticeships. I am sure that the Minister has not had much time yet, but he will have noticed that the latest statistics from the manufacturing organisation, the EEF, show a 61% fall in the number of registrations for apprenticeships in the last quarter. Does he agree that this is not just disappointing, it is awful? Can he explain what the Government are doing to improve their lamentable performance over the apprentice levy, which is causing this problem?