A radical overhaul of the skills system across the UK is needed if businesses are to avoid the negative effects of Brexit, a new report from the All Party Parliamentary Group for London warns.
The study looks at the challenges facing organisations in the capital as they seek to recruit employees with the right skills to do the job.
It found that London does not have access to the tools to upskill its population to fill gaps left by a reduction in EU migration. In addition, the report says that if its warnings are not heeded, the capital could suck in talent from around the country to compensate, undermining the Industrial Strategy and aims of the Metro Mayors.
Now the cross-party group of capital MPs is calling for a devolution deal for the capital that will give London government – the Mayor and boroughs – full control over the skills system, saying that simply ‘tinkering around the edges’ will not deliver the scale of change needed.
Steve Reed MP, co-Chair of the APPG for London, said:
“For years London’s skills system has lagged behind that of other world cities, and it is an understatement to say it is not fit for purpose.
“With Brexit looming on the horizon and the capital ready and eager to boost Londoners’ skill sets, power must now be passed to London government so a new, more effective skills system can be developed.”
Bob Neill MP, co-chair of the APPG for London, said:
“If we fail to grow more of our own talent, any dip in migration will hit businesses hard, not only in London but in the UK as a whole. “We must now seize the opportunity for a radical redesign of our skills system. With devolution at its heart, this will help us nurture UK-born talent and present the capital’s businesses with the skilled workers they need to continue to contribute £35 billion a year to the national exchequer.”
The APPG is making a number of recommendations to improve the skills system in the capital, including:
- Developing a new, all-age London Careers Service to boost work experience opportunities and create a ‘one-stop shop’ for Londoners’ careers needs.
- Devolving all 16-18 skills provision to London government so a streamlined, tailored approach can be developed.
- Ring-fencing and devolving unspent Apprenticeship Levy funds generated in the capital to London government so this can be used to increase opportunities for under-represented groups. This would be a first step towards full devolution of apprenticeships policy.
- Devolving European Social Fund replacement funding to London government after Brexit so it can be targeted more effectively.
Notes to Editors
- For more information about the APPG for London visit www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/who-runs-london/appg-london/
- London Councils acts as the Secretariat for the APPG for London.
- The report will be launched at an APPG for London event in the Thames Pavilion in the House of Commons from 4-6pm on Monday 10 July. Speakers will be:
- Bob Neill MP, APPG for London Co-Chair
- Steve Reed MP, APPG for London Co-Chair
- Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor, Planning, Regeneration and Skills, GLA
- Cllr Asima Shaikh, Executive Member for Economic Development, Islington Council
Media are more than welcome to attend, and your invite can be accessed here. You will need to print this off for entry to the event.