Results 21–40 of 7139 for speaker:Lord Willetts

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: I beg to move, That this House regrets that the number of young people not in education, employment or training in England has grown from 686,000 to 850,000 since 2000, that the number of adult learner places has fallen by 1.3 million in just two years, and that the number of UK students enrolled at university is now falling; notes that current policies are hindering training opportunities by...

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: That was an excellent speech. I happily congratulate the hon. Gentleman on the performance of the Connexions service in his area, especially as he made the crucial point when he described its performance as bucking the national trend, because it is precisely the national trend that we are focusing on in this debate. If we had predicted in 1997 that we would be in the situation that we are now...

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: I will happily accompany the hon. Gentleman on a visit to his FE college if he will come with me and some of my hon. Friends to visit all the FE colleges whose governing bodies are now in little short of a state of crisis as their capital spending plans have been held up by this Government. That is the crisis in FE that we are drawing attention to, and it is causing a great deal of concern...

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and I hope to turn to this issue later in my remarks, because we very much hope to get clear information on it today from the Secretary of State so that our FE colleges know where they stand. We enter this recession with a weak position on skills, youth unemployment and young people not in education, employment or training. We need to learn the lessons from...

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: My hon. Friend is fighting a very important battle for common-sense English. I shall take careful account of the point he makes, and we shall try to do better. One of the reasons we face the problems that I am discussing is the policy mistakes made by this Government. One of those mistakes is, of course, the endless reorganisation of the world of skills. I am not going to give the House...

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: I see my hon. Friend nodding in assent to that proposition. It is very important that people have an opportunity to enjoy those sorts of skills and activities, but it is not just those activities, however worth while, that have suffered—many that are of direct economic benefit have lost out as well.

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: I shall give way, provided the hon. Lady is a little briefer than her two colleagues were—I would appreciate that.

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: I do not recall those exact details. My recollection is that if one examines the figures for adult learning places, one finds that there has clearly been a significant reduction in the past few years. That is a direct result of this Government's policies, and those reductions are not simply in respect of basket weaving and belly dancing. Only last week, I received a parliamentary answer to a...

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: I pay tribute to the work that my hon. Friend does on behalf of the Open university, which is based in his constituency. His point is well made and I strongly agree with him.

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: My hon. Friend is right, and that is another example of the obsession with paper qualifications. I spoke recently to a student with learning difficulties who was studying horticulture at an FE college, but the course would not gain her an NVQ. The LSC decided that it would fund the course only if it resulted in a paper qualification, so her worthwhile activity was cut as a result of a policy...

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: We are now digging into the distant past. In fact, I support the principle of a national curriculum. As the hon. Gentleman will know, over the years it has been amended and changed in the light of concerns such as the one that he has expressed. I am trying to draw attention to why the decisions made by the Government have meant that this nation is not investing in the skills that we need,...

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: I agree with my hon. Friend. That is why many of my hon. Friends were shocked by a brutal answer from the Under-Secretary, the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington, in oral questions last week. We were talking about the importance of what are called—if I have permission from my hon. Friend the Member for South Staffordshire (Sir Patrick Cormack) to use the phrase—green collar jobs. The...

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: I have been generous in giving way, and I will give way to the hon. Gentleman because I know he has a longstanding interest in this subject. However, after that I will try to make some progress.

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: No such cuts are proposed. We are refocusing the Train to Gain budget on what we think is the real need in our economy, which is more apprenticeships. Those are the proposals that my party has set out and they are the right policies for the economy.

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: I want to make some progress by inviting the Secretary of State, as he is about to intervene, to tell us more about the facts and figures behind the concern of many further education colleges across the country about the future of their capital spending plans. That is what we want to hear about today.

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: The leader of the Conservative party made it absolutely clear that there would be reductions in the growth rate of public expenditure in the financial year 2009-10. They are a proposal in aggregate. Where we would make those necessary savings if we were in government is a subject for careful consideration. That is the position. I want to hear about the Secretary of State's plans for the...

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: If the hon. Lady is going to tell us what she is doing on behalf of her FE college, which is faced with capital cuts imposed by this Government, we shall be very interested to hear her.

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: If I may say so, the anxiety is not created by us. There is real anxiety among people on the governing bodies of FE colleges and the principals of FE colleges who are approaching us and asking us to raise on their behalf a statement from the Government about what they are doing. Perhaps it was my eternal optimism, but I thought the Chancellor meant something when he said in his pre-Budget...

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: The right hon. Gentleman's comments are a very salutary warning for Lord Mandelson, who should bear them in mind before he makes remarks such as the one that I cited about pay rates for workers from different countries.

Opposition Day — [4th Allotted Day]: Skills and Further Education (3 Feb 2009)

David Willetts: We believe that that is one of the things that need to be looked at as part of a negotiation about how the EU can tackle the jobs crisis that it faces. I am trying to focus on the Prime Minister's words: his defence of the statement "British jobs for British workers" was that he meant that, by investing in more skills, we would be able to secure more British jobs for British workers. By its...


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