Access to Education: South-East Northumberland

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:09 pm on 21 February 2024.

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Photo of Seema Malhotra Seema Malhotra Shadow Minister (Education) 3:09, 21 February 2024

I do not propose to come back on all the points that the Minister has made, but the poverty and the challenges of the cost of living crisis and the sustained impact of austerity are having a huge impact on children and families. The impact has been cumulative over many years. Apprenticeship numbers have been dropping since 2017, with the impact of the levy that was implemented, and the engagement of small and medium-sized enterprises with apprenticeships has dropped by 49% since 2016. Those are official figures. Does he agree that it is important, in terms of a good-quality education, that we look at the sustained engagement of employers and tackle the barriers? It is important to recognise that they exist rather than pretending that there is not a problem.