The Chancellor’s Statement is a case of short-term gain, long-term pain.
There is relatively good news over the public finances and growth in the short-term, but long-term pessimism abounds about our growth prospects and therefore public spending conditions will remain extremely tight. To coin a phrase, nothing has changed.
To break out of this low growth future, we need to invest in high quality learning, skills and employment.
The extra £80 million to support SMEs to take on apprentices is welcome, but more fundamental changes are needed too.
Alongside increased investment, we need new ways to engage adults in learning, a drive to improve literacy and numeracy among the nine million adults that lack these skills, and a bigger ambition to help more people with health problems and disabilities back to work.
We’re pleased to be working on Careers Learning pilots in five areas of England with the Department for Education to trial new ways to engage people in learning.
The Chancellor kept his statement deliberately short – forecast heavy, policy light. But the Government must seize the historic opportunity to invest in learning, skills and employment.
Stephen Evans, Learning & Work Institute, Chief Executive