I agree that schools have a lot to offer when it comes to redressing the imbalance. I will address schools a little later in my speech, when I will speak about the specific situation in Bradford and the specific project that we have there.
That situation is something of a vicious cycle. The lack of skills makes Bradford a less attractive place for businesses to locate and invest in. A good example is Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, which cited the lack of appropriate skills as one of the reasons to relocate its offices from Bradford. That is why getting the skills policy right is essential to give places such as Bradford the economic boost that they so badly need.
The issue is becoming ever more urgent as we face the impact of new technologies in the world of work. The Future Advocacy report places Bradford South in the top 40 constituencies that are likely to be affected by automation in the coming years. It also says that 35% of jobs in Bradford are in occupations that are likely to shrink by 2030. It is clear that Bradford will need to adapt to secure good-quality and sustainable jobs.