London Councils works with the boroughs to drive local economic growth through support for employment, skills, apprenticeships, small businesses, high streets and town centres.
Among our current priorities are working with the GLA on securing a skills devolution deal for London, working with the boroughs to implement the devolved Work and Health Programme, responding to the government's Industrial Strategy, and supporting the boroughs with the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy.
You can find out more about our latest work below or contact the team and find out which areas of work we cover here.
Apprenticeship Levy and Public Sector Target
The Apprenticeship Levy is a new charge introduced by government to help fund their plans to create 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020. The Levy is charged at 0.5% of an employers’ pay bill above £3m and applies to the public and private sectors. All London boroughs are required to pat the Levy, which came into force in April 2017.
Alongside the Levy, the government has also introduced a new target for public sector bodies to create apprenticeships starts equivalent to 2.3% of their organisation’s headcount each year.
Although London Councils supports the introduction of the Levy and the setting of a target, we feel that the Levy is not flexible enough to respond to London’s needs and training priorities and the Public Sector Target is unrealistic (London boroughs are required to create as many almost as many apprenticeships in one year as they did in the last seven). Many boroughs have also put considerable resources into generating apprenticeships in their supply chains, yet these will not count towards the target, and employers are currently prohibited from passing apprenticeship levy funds onto their supply chains. This will lead to missed opportunities for creating new apprenticeships and will undermine progress on meeting the 3 million target.
London Councils will continue to look for opportunities to influence the government in reforming the Apprenticeship Levy and public sector target as well as supporting boroughs to create new apprenticeship opportunities in their areas.
Nominations for the 2017 London Borough Apprenticeship Awards have now closed. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in central London on 22 September. The Awards, now in their seventh year, aim to recognise and celebrate the contribution of apprentices to London’s local authorities and communities and the innovative work happening across London to create new apprenticeship opportunities. Awards will be presented in four categories – best contribution by a new apprentice, best progression by an apprentice, best manager or mentor and best work with supply chains or local businesses to create new apprenticeships – and a fifth award will be presented to the Apprentice of the Year, drawn from the nominations in the first two categories.
The London Work and Health Programmes
Launched in February and March this year, London’s four sub-regions will receive funding worth up to £135 million over five years to support 50-55,000 long term unemployed, disabled people and people with long term health conditions to seek employment. The programme is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and match-funded through European Social Funding via the GLA.
Read more here.
Last year London Councils responded to the government’s ‘Building our Industrial Strategy’ Green Paper. London Councils made a number of detailed recommendations to the government on how to strengthen London and the UK’s economy and create fairer and more inclusive growth. This included recommendations concerning:
- London’s relationship with the UK and global economies
- Reducing regional inequalities through a place-based approach
- Committing to genuine fiscal and service devolution, including skills devolution
Read our consultation response on the government's green paper here.
The Government's Industrial Strategy White Paper has now been published. Read our members' briefing here.
This paper set out a number of ideas on how to tackle these challendges, and since the launch several funding streams and competitions have been announced. A key recommendation is the creation of 'local industrial strategies' and we are lobbying hard to make sure boroughs have a say in what a London Industrial Strategy could look like.
Launch of 'Bridging the Skills Gap' APPG for London Report on how skills devolution can help secure London's future prosperity
On 10 July, the All Party Parliamentary Group for London published its first report, highlighting the looming skills challenges facing the capital and calling for more powers to be devolved to London government. The report was produced for the APPG by London Councils.
The research identifies a number of key challenges for London including the reliance of many important sectors in the capital on EU-born labour, a rapidly growing population, skills gaps in key sectors and an employment rate that has lagged behind the rest of England for decades. It also makes a number of recommendations, including calling on the government to move quickly towards a London Skills Devolution Deal that gives London government full policy and commissioning powers over adult skills provision, and work with London to develop a more ambitious skills devolution deal covering 16-18 provision, the Apprenticeship Levy and careers information, advice and guidance.
Securing a skills devolution deal with government
London Councils, the boroughs and the Mayor of London are working together to secure a skills devolution deal for London. We have been collaborating to make the case for a wide-ranging package of skills devolution for London in order to create the skills system the capital needs to respond effectively to the skills challenges and opportunities that will arise from the UK’s exit from the EU.
London government wants to take a whole systems approach to skills training, including commissioning of all 16-18 provision, more integrated careers information and guidance and a joint review with government on how the apprenticeship levy has operated in London in its first year with a view to ring-fencing a share of the funds generated in the capital to be used by London government to boost apprenticeships.
Following the conclusion of the London Area Review process, we have continued to engage in dialogue with the government on the devolution of the Adult Education Budget and reform of careers information and guidance.
In March 2017, the Chancellor reaffirmed the government’s commitment to devolve the Adult Education Budget to London from 2019-20.
London government is keen to finalise the detail and conditions for the devolution of the AEB in order to deliver adult skills provision that reflects local labour markets and economies within the capital.
Economic Development Strategy for London
The Mayor's draft Economic Development Strategy for London was published in December 2017. It sets out the Mayor's vision for how all Londoners can benefit from economic growth across the capital through a fairer, more inclusive economy.
Through the Strategy, the Mayor aims to work with communities in London to ensure that they feed into policy development and delivery to support growth both locally and nationally.
The Strategy also makes the case for further devolution to London, including the need for London government to possess greater influence over how taxes and revenues generated in the capital are invested.
You can read our consultation response to the draft Strategy here.
Members can also download London Councils' member briefings on the Economic Development Strategy here.