Anne Milton resigns as Skills Minister just before Boris Johnson is announced as Prime Minister

Prior to the announcement of the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Anne Milton resigned as Skills and Apprenticeship Minister. Anne Milton has held the post since June 2017 and explained in a Tweet earlier this week. 

Anne Milton has resigned due to “grave concerns about leaving the EU without a deal”

Please see Anne Milton's Tweet and Letter of resignation below:

This was just prior to the announcement of Boris Johnson as the new Prime Minister, please see Theresa May's tweet congratulating Boris Johnson into the new role:

Sector response to the resignation of the Education Minister Anne Milton,  and the Conservative Party leadership announcement

Graham Hasting Evans Jan19 100x100Graham Hasting-Evans Group MD, NOCN, said:

"Many of us will regret the fact that Anne Milton will no longer be Skills Minister. She has been champion for the sector and has made an excellent contribution to moving forward skills improvements. The new PM faces many major challenges. One of these is to continue the present reforms and to support them with increased levels of investment.  Without extra funding all the ambitions the new Government has will not be achieved" 

Ben Rowland100x100Ben Rowland, Co-Founder of Arch Apprentices, said:

"We are sad to see Anne Milton resign. She has been quietly determined and sensible about making some of the inevitable and tricky trade-offs in getting the levy and its associated reforms off the ground. As apprenticeship starts begin to  return to their “pre-levy” levels, but with a much higher proportion of advanced and higher programmes, we congratulate the outgoing Minister on what she has achieved.  

"Our main suggestion for the incoming Minister - and the new Chancellor - is to note that apprenticeship spending is something where you can track impact easily, via wages and PAYE data, and once the impact is clear, to invest still more in the apprenticeship programme to ensure we survive and thrive, whatever happens on Halloween!"

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Kirsti Lord, Deputy Chief Executive at the Association of Colleges said:

“In her time as Skills & Apprenticeships Minister, Anne Milton worked hard to champion colleges and the further education sector - even when her colleagues were not so willing to listen. While there was a divergence on policy and implementation at times, we recognised many areas of agreement and always enjoyed working with her.

"The Skills and Apprenticeships brief is a tough one, but potentially one of the most important in government. A strong and robust skills system is paramount to the country to begin to solve many of the problems, now and in the future. We look forward to working with the next Minister to help make that a reality.”

Mark Dawe AELP 100x100Association of Employment and Learning Providers CEO Mark Dawe said:

“As her resignation letter shows, Anne has been a brilliant champion for apprenticeships. The mark of a top-class minister is one who does not need to always rely on a supplied brief or indeed need to agree with every word in it and AELP has always found Anne to be totally honest about the way the levy reforms have been progressing.  On a personal level, I will really miss her and I hope that she will have an opportunity to serve in government again at some point in the future.”

“We welcome the future Prime Minister’s promise to invest more in apprenticeships. 

"The investment needs to be at all levels of apprenticeships to realise the vision that Mr Johnson has set out and funding needs to be made available to the thousands of non-levy paying SMEs across the country who are now being starved of the money required to offer new places on the programme. AELP wants to see the additional investment make a big difference for young people and the vital lower level apprenticeships which have been disproportionately hit by the dramatic fall in the number of apprenticeship starts.”

Stephen Evans Dec 2018 100x100Stephen Evans, Chief Executive, Learning and Work Institute, said:

"Anne is clearly passionate about learning, skills and apprenticeships and always engaged constructively in the big issues as well as the detail of policy that makes such a difference to people, employers and providers. I thank her for that.

"I congratulate Boris Johnson. As well as the immediate challenges of Brexit, any government has important choices to make about investment in public services and increasing living standards. The best way to do this is by increasing economic growth - our research shows improvements in skills have stalled and setting a higher ambition can boost our economy by £20 Billion by per year. 

"But beyond this, increasing participation in learning can improve health, wellbeing and active citizenship and has many other wider benefits too. The case for investment in learning is clear and increasingly widely accepted. We look forward to working with government to turn that into action."

Tom Bewick July19 100x100Tom Bewick, Chief Executive of the Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB), said:

“We wish Anne well in her new role on the back benches. As the skills and apprenticeships minister she was one of the first senior politicians in government to really engage with the awarding sector. At FAB, we really enjoyed working with her.

"For further education, she has done a great job; as well as championing the power of apprenticeships for individuals and employers. She said vocally that FE needs more investment to deliver on the country’s long-term skills and productivity needs. It’s now over to a Boris Johnson premiership, with his new Chancellor, to deliver on the additional investment calls made by the Augar Review. 

"Like many of her predecessors, I’m sure Anne will continue to be a strong advocate of the FE sector in Parliament and beyond.” 

Universities UK is calling on the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to cement the world-leading reputation of our universities and to help them to make an even bigger impact on people’s lives through their teaching and research.

Alistair Jarvis100x100Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said:

“Our universities are one of the UK’s genuine global success stories - world-renowned and delivering huge positive impact for the UK economy and people.

“We hope that the new Prime Minister will seize two early opportunities to increase universities positive impact.

“He should make good on his promise to support improved post-study work visas, which would help us to remain internationally competitive in attracting the international students who deliver such benefits to the economy, local communities and our enrich our university campuses.

“Domestically, if the Prime Minister is politically tempted to cut tuition fees, he should only do so if he can guarantee the replacement funding to ensure that universities can offer the high quality of education that university students rightly expect and develop the skills the economy needs.” 

KevinCourtney100x100Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“Much was made in the Conservative Party leadership election of the need for more school funding. Boris Johnson made it his second pledge in the TV debate. The new Prime Minister now needs to act to implement a programme of funding that will actually make a difference to schools and colleges and addresses the years of underfunding and ensures teachers’ pay rises are fully funded.

“Schools need more than promises on the side of a bus. Schools need real money for real children in real schools now. The NEU, with the f40 local authorities group, ASCL and NAHT, has published a complete assessment of the extra funding needed to reverse the cuts made in recent years.  We are proposing an immediate increase of £3bn in order to restore half of the £5.9bn current funding loss, followed by a 3.5% real-terms increase every year for the next six years.

“The teacher recruitment and retention crisis is also a fundamental problem of the Government’s own making. A huge driving factor, aside from schools not having the money to employ all the educational professionals they need and the reduced real terms salary levels, is workload.  The long hours worked into the evening and weekends is made up of largely unnecessary bureaucratic accountability and assessment exercises driven by Government policy and high stakes Ofsted inspections. While some steps have been taken to address this, they do not go nearly far enough. 

“If the new Prime Minister does not act effectively and swiftly on these issues the education our children and young people receive will continue to be undermined.”

Steve Frampton, President of the Association of Colleges said:

As Boris Johnson collects the keys to Number 10 we look forward to working with him and his government to deliver a skills system that people, employers and the country so desperately needs. Mr Johnson faces many challenges during an uncertain time, however it is difficult to see how these other issues can begin to be grappled with if the new Prime Minister does not make creating a robust technical, vocational and academic education system his priority.  

"In light of the ongoing disorderly exit from the European Union the new Prime Minister must commit to urgently addressing the issues facing the sector regardless of the outcomes of the negotiations and final deal. The House of Common’s own Education Select Committee warned this week that the education system is approaching breaking point – joining policy experts, employers, unions, and Parliamentarians from every Party in calling for immediate action. They are clear that failure to recognise the risks our colleges face will have a devastating impact on the country.”

Mr Johnson may remember in a speech launching his leadership bid that he pledged to give young people the same access, freedoms and confidence to succeed while funding our amazing FE colleges. This is the perfect opportunity to now call on our new Prime Minister to be true to his word, follow through with his plans for further education and commit to the sector that has been overlooked for so long. We’ll be sure to remind him if he doesn’t.”

Samantha Hurley, Director of Operations at the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), said:

“Johnson’s appointment will be no great surprise to the majority of our members. However, the new Prime Minister’s ‘do or die’ commitment to delivering Brexit by the 31st October 2019 means that there will be a certain level of apprehension around how this could potentially impact business – particularly as the former Foreign Secretary has, so far, failed to rule out a no-deal exit.”

“While the professional recruitment market may not be as exposed to the same potential post-Brexit risks as those recruiting for lower skilled roles, it is crucial that future strategy remains focused on attracting the talent our country needs. With this in mind, we welcome Johnson’s position that the electorate has voted to control, rather than reduce, migration, and that an ‘Australian style’ points system could make the economy ‘much more open’ to skilled migrants.”

“Many will also welcome Johnson’s commitment to boosting funding for technical and vocational apprenticeships. Our members report chronic skills shortages in sectors such as engineering, and developing talent in this area will create a highly-skilled workforce to meet demand for high-wage jobs.”

“Ultimately, it is our hope that Boris Johnson will be determined to put the interests of the UK economy ahead of his personal ambitions, so that the professional recruitment community can leave this period of uncertainty behind and concentrate on growing their businesses in a more stable climate.”  

Dr Adam Marshall, Director General at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The message to Boris Johnson from business communities around the UK couldn’t be simpler: the time for campaigning is over — and we need you to get down to business. 

“Companies need to know, in concrete terms, what your government will do to avoid a messy, disorderly Brexit on the 31st of October - which would bring pain to communities across the UK and disruption to our trade around the world. 

“We need to see swift action on practical, real-world issues here at home that hold businesses and communities back. 

“Tomorrow we will be sending you 15 specific steps you can take — right now — to rebuild business confidence swiftly over the coming days.

“We will work with you wherever we can to make these proposals a reality, but we will also hold you and your government to account for delivery.”

 Please see Anne Milton's letter of resignation in full below:

anne milton page 1

anne milton page 2

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