To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they had prior to the announcement of the Skills Accelerator: Local Skills Improvement Plan Trailblazers and Strategic Development Fund pilot areas with (1) the mayor of Teeside, (2) the mayors from other trailblazer areas, and (3) council leaders from trailblazer areas.
The Skills Accelerator programme was launched on 20 April 2021 with a prospectus inviting expressions of interest from employer representative bodies to lead a Local Skills Improvement Plan Trailblazer. The successful Local Skills Improvement Plan Trailblazers were subsequently announced on 15 July 2021.
During this time period, there were no discussions regarding the Skills Accelerator programme or Local Skills Improvement Plans between the former Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend for South Staffordshire; the former Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, my hon. Friend for Chichester; Special Advisors; or officials with mayors or council leaders in any of the areas which were subsequently announced as Trailblazers. Over the same time period, the former Secretary of State for Education met the Mayor of Tees Valley on 20 May 2021. This was a political meeting in his capacity as a Member of Parliament for South Staffordshire, not on departmental business.