Unemployment: West Midlands

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 5th December 2017.

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Photo of Emma Reynolds Emma Reynolds Labour, Wolverhampton North East

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which measures in the industrial strategy will help to reduce the rate of unemployment in the West Midlands.

Photo of Claire Perry Claire Perry The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

The Government’s Industrial Strategy sets out a long term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK. It also builds on previous reforms to allow local leaders to focus where they will have the greatest economic impact. We will agree Local Industrial Strategies that build on local strengths and deliver on economic opportunities. These will be long-term, evidence-based, and aligned to the national Industrial Strategy.

The Government is pleased to have agreed a further devolution package with the West Midlands: the detail of this deal demonstrates the Government’s commitment to mayoral devolution, the Midlands Engine and promoting local economic growth.

Key measures to support employment include:

  • Joint work to establish one of the first Skills Advisory Panels – a new partnership between the West Midlands Combined Authority, local employers, post-16 skills providers and central government which will bring together data and intelligence on local labour market demand and influence skills provision, including the implementation of T-level qualifications in the local area.

  • A career learning pilot testing new approaches to helping adults to upskill and reskill throughout their working lives.

    In March 2017 we announced a flagship £20million Midlands Skills Challenge to improve skills across the Midlands. This includes:

  • £11 million to provide additional Work Coaches in order to deliver targeted employment support to unemployed people across Birmingham, Solihull and Black Country, with the aim of supporting claimants furthest from the labour market and improve the employment rate in these areas.

  • And £2 million to offer English-language training to people in the Midlands, whose lack of ability to speak English is holding them back from accessing employment.

Finally, in the three months ending September 2017, compared to the same period in 2010, the unemployment rate in the West Midlands fell from 9.0% to 5.7%, a decrease of 3.3 percentage points, meaning 87,000 fewer people unemployed (Labour Force Survey, November 2017).

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