Category Archives: Labour market
‘Ending the gap between classroom and career: Labour’s next steps in skills and higher education reform’ – my speech at the City of Westminster College – 7 July 2014
This morning I gave a speech to the City of Westminster College entitled; ‘Ending the gap between classroom and career: Labour’s next steps in skills and higher education reform’.
See the full text below:
Ending the gap between classroom and career: Labour’s next steps in skills and higher education reform
Speech by Liam Byrne MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Universities, Science and Skills
Monday 7 July 2014, City of Westminster College
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It’s a huge privilege to be here at the City of Westminster College’s Paddington Green campus.
As the grandson of a college principal I feel very much at home.
It’s a privilege to be with those who share my grandfather’s passion for learning that changes lives.
And it’s a privilege to tell the story of someone who shows us just what that change can mean.
Catherine was homeless when she enrolled here.
She’d leave a nearby shelter each and every morning, making the daily trip to and from this very campus.
By night, she’d study under torchlight, dreaming of a way out, dreaming of a way in which she could make her life better.
And she did just that.
Ladies and gentlemen, Catherine graduated in 2011.
She’s can now pay rent, support a family and live the sort of comfortable life that so many of us take for granted.
Her energy, her commitment, her belief were the driving forces behind her remarkable achievement… but without the values and virtues of this College, the City of
Westminster College, there would have been no ladder to climb.
So Catherine has a lesson for us:
We have to ensure that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, has a real choice to change their lives with education.
Without that real choice, we’ll hear less stories of lives changed – less stories like Catherine’s.
And that’s what I want to talk about today.
With under a year to go until the next election, the battle of ideas is taking shape.
The Tory-led government’s script is already clear.
And so are its flaws.
As I said last week they might boast of a recovery – but it’s not a recovery for the many.
Families will be £974 a year worse off in 2015 than they were back in 2010
What does that mean in practice?
It means we have to work harder – it’s an extra fortnight every year at the moment – just to stand still.
Why? Because that old curse, the ‘British Disease’ is back.
That crisis of low productivity that haunts industry and makes it ever harder to give your staff a pay rise.
Since the last election, output for every hour worked hasn’t gone up.
It’s gone down.
Output per worker?
Not up, but down.
Did you know that today’s crisis in productivity is actually far worse than it was the end of the 1970s?
The damage to our global position is huge.
We’re now 21% less productive than the G7 average.
What countries in the G7 finish making on a Thursday, takes us till the end of Friday to complete.
If there is a global race, we are well and truly losing.
We can’t go on like this;
Thankfully, over the last fortnight you heard the voices now calling for a change of course.
The IPPR’s ground-breaking condition of Britain report sets out a path back to full employment, especially for our young people and our parents.
Mike Wright’s review of manufacturing and the supply chain is making clear the role of government in bringing together sectors to plan long term to boost skills and lower our cost base
Lord Adonis’ breakthrough report arguing for a radical devolution of powers and resources to our city regions.
John Armitt’s call for a new approach to infrastructure.
Our own launch of a review into science and innovation policy.
And tomorrow Ed Miliband is speaking at the Sutton Trust’s conference on the importance of high quality vocational education
When you boil it down, our argument is simple:
Big reform, not big spending
An inclusive prosperity for this century
As Ed Balls puts it: “more good jobs, boosting skills and long-term investment as we restore the broken link between the wealth of the nation and family finances.”
Now the sharp-eyed amongst you will have noticed that running through every single report, every single major statement of the last month, running like a golden thread is the challenge of skills.
And that is why you are so important.
Your country needs you like never before.
The years ahead should become a golden age for educators.
When your passion for learning and your mission of service put our country on a new and better path.
It’s now very clear that skills are the key to a Britain that grows more, firms that employ more, and workers who earn more,
How much evidence do we need?
The inextricable trends in trade and technology, discussed so eloquently in books like the ‘Second Machine Age’, sound the death-knell of ‘routine’ jobs
The Migration Advisory Committee has added 117 high-skilled roles to the shortage occupation list.
British business has had to sponsor over 282,000 skilled people into Britain – that’s the same size of Newcastle – because they couldn’t find the skills here.
But look at the future and the skills crisis looms larger still.
In the UK, between 2012 and 2022, it is projected that we’ll need:
Over a million more people in professional occupations
Nearly 600,000 new managers, directors & senior officials
The Royal Society of Engineering tells us that we’re delivering 36,000 too few engineering graduates every year.
Mike Wright says that the country’s automotive and aerospace industries will suffer if there isn’t a greater focus on improving the level of domestic engineering skills in the
Andrew Adonis describes the skills shortage as the “single most important impediment” to British businesses
How many more times do we need to hear it?
The tragedy is that great firms want to bring back work to Britain.
I can understand why.
When I left Business School in America, there was only one place I’d consider to build any business.
Here is Britain.
It’s one of the best places in the world to build a business.
And lots of people want to do more.
In fact, PWC says that ‘re-shoring’ could create 100-200,000 extra jobs over the next decade, adding £6-12billion onto GDP.
What’s standing in the way?
A lack of skills.
This is what KPMG said is stopping too many jobs coming here.
And here’s the tragedy for workers.
Extra skill means extra pay.
Analysis for BIS shows the difference in earnings between a high quality level three apprenticeship and a GCSEs, is £117,000 over a lifetime.
But for most it’s a degree that’s the key to a middle-class life.
Economists may disagree on what technically constitutes ‘middle-class’, but the marketeers tell us it’s the difference between earning £37,000 and £47,000 a year.
That’s the kind of earning power a degree level qualification gives you.
On average, degree holders earn more than £100,000 more than someone with only two A-Levels.
Shifting more people into ‘top gear’ with a degree is one of the best things we can do to earn our way out of this cost-of-living-crisis.
But, right now it’s too hard for students to shift into ‘top gear’
There’s the traditional degree route which is well-established and open to half of our young people, thanks to changes that Labour made in office.
But what about everyone else?
More and more want an earn-while-you-learn route into higher-level skills.
Yet look at the figures: the number of under-25s starting on an apprenticeship isn’t rising, it’s falling under this Government.
In the last year alone, we’ve seen 11,400 fewer young people starting an apprenticeship.
That’s why Ed Miliband has made it a central mission to change the future for the forgotten 50% who today do not have a good enough or clear enough choice of high
quality vocational education.
They do not have enough apprenticeships and there’s no real vocational route to degree level technical and professional qualifications.
Right now a vocational route to higher-level skills is like navigating rapids: risky, a bit haphazard with a high risk of drowning.
First up, it’s very hard to get your foot on the ladder.
Last year, there were 11 applications for every apprenticeship vacancy.
That means it’s now twice as hard to get on an apprenticeship as it is getting into University.
High-quality apprenticeships, where firms are prepared to sponsor you to degree level skills are even harder to win.
It’s almost three times more difficult to enrol on a Rolls Royce apprenticeship than going to Oxford.
For BAE it’s 2.5 times harder than getting into Cambridge
So we have frustrated companies and we have frustrated workers
We need a new way forward.
A path that’s pro-company and pro-worker.
So today I want to out some principles for change.
First we have to accept the big, bold principle of devolution for skills that Andrew Adonis has set out.
Today I want to say more about how that might work in practice, and as I do I want to say a huge thank you to my advisory group, co-chaired by the Rt Hon Stephen Timms, Rushanara Ali, and advised by, amongst others, Cllr Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds and Cllr Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council.
Let me say at the outset that as we give employers and LEPs and Combined Local Authorities more say over how skills funding is spent, no-one is advocating for the proliferation of funding agencies, handling cash or contracts or countering fraud.
Second: We think the role of employer-led sector bodies, built on reformed SSCs and their industrial partnerships, are critical to fostering a ‘something-for-something’ deal with big employers and their supply chains to drive up apprenticeship numbers.
So we’ll give employers, working collectively through reformed sector bodies, more control over the standards and assessment criteria for training in their sectors, and enable them to broker a significant share of the £1.4bn apprenticeship budget to address their skills needs.
In return, we will ask them to work to drive up the number of high quality apprenticeships in their sectors and supply chains – and we’ll use the power of public procurement to help.
Large firms will need more apprenticeship to win big government contracts. Full stop.
Third: Combined Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships should shape the broad goals for adult skills in their neck of the woods.
To win this freedom, these authorities will have to show us that they are up to the job and Andrew Adonis has set out some tests for quality governance.
But I think these broad plans will have some important things in common.
First, they should include what Lord Adonis calls Business Hubs – and what I’ve described in this post as City Apprenticeship Agencies.
One stop shops that provide information and advice in particular to small and medium businesses with a real focus on support for apprenticeship recruitment.
It’s a model like we’ve seen in Leeds – a solution that’s seen apprenticeship numbers doubling in the city.
In an age where SMEs are creating jobs five times faster than big business, we need solutions that works for all firms, regardless of their size.
So in the future, if I run an SME in Birmingham I will have on my doorstep, a hub that can offer me advice on how to set up a high quality apprenticeship with a choice of apprenticeship arrangements: some put in place by sectors nationally; or as a service delivered locally.
Second, we want LEPs and combined local authorities (CLA) to shape some goals for the adults’ skills in their area.
Back in December 2006, Sandy Leitch set down an important principle: “The skills system must meet the needs of individuals and employers. Vocational-skills must be demand-led rather than centrally planned”
This is an important principle.
But for the £2.4bn 19+ Adult Skills budget we need to bring a better balance to the ambitions of learners on the one hand, and the ambitions of business to employ them.
So: we desperately need better information and guidance so ‘demand’ is better informed.
We need a different relationship with DWP, as you see work so well in Germany, where students are far better informed about the local world of of opportunity.
But I think we also need LEPs/CLAs and providers together to forge the kind of ‘Outcome Agreements’ that are tried and tested in Scotland and over the medium term, aim to eliminate the skills gaps in a demand-led system.
Third, I think there is a need for the CLAs/LEPs to directly commission what you might call a strategic core of skills, where serious local skills gaps have been identified.
This flexibility is absolutely critical in a world where we envisage Combined Local Authorities and LEPs are taking a much bigger role in co-commissioning Work Programme contracts.
This will – for the first time ever – ensure that skills provision meets the needs of local areas, balancing social and economic demands with identified areas for growth.
Many parts of Britain, including my own constituency, have very high-levels of unemployment alongside firms crying out for skills.
Mike Wright of JLR has spoken about JLR’s challenges.
Yet on the south side of the M6, half a mile from the Castle Bromwich gates is my constituency with the highest youth unemployment in Britain. The balance between the ‘commissioned core’ and the ‘market margin’ will obviously look different in different places.
Giving local areas the flexibility and freedom to commission against local labour market priorities will help us join up the skills system and the welfare to work system for the first time.
Naturally, there is still a great deal for us to work through, and I look forward to those discussions ahead.
Already clear is that two funding systems, split between the adult and young people’s skills budget, is a complex set-up.
So we’ll want your advice on whether to move post-19 funding to a per-student, not per-qualification basis, as works for under-19s and in Scotland.
The changes we propose offer the chance of a creating a far stronger ‘triple track’ for skills, for young and old alike.
Some will want to take the well-established academic route from A-Levels through to University
Others will want to progress through the vocational track, with opportunities to move through colleges specialising in delivering technical and provisional skills, on courses better aligned to the needs of local employers.
And we hope many more will secure high-quality apprenticeships with high-quality training ahead.
But every track will need to offer something more.
A surer route to higher-level skills.
Back in 2006, Sandy Leitch advised an increased focus on L5 and above skills.
Yet today it’s incredibly difficult to take an apprenticeship or college route to degree level professional and technical skills.
Just 2% of apprentices are given the chance to study to degree level each year.
None of our competitors are making the same mistakes.
Back at the end of the 19th Century, the huge explosion of our university system was in part driven by the need to equip a new generation of businesses and a new generation of workers with the skills to shift into ‘top gear’ with the qualifications that can unlock a middle class life.
Beginning with the creation of my alma mater, Owens Colleges, Manchester in 1851, eleven universities were opened over the course of fifty years with a clear empathy for the German model, pioneered by the University of Berlin in 1810, and what Rev. J Percival described as:
“Teaching [the people] things which would help them in their occupations”
In the years that followed, science and engineering expanded whilst classics declined until finally under the pressure of World War One, a modern relationship was finally forged between government, academia and business.
This was a spirit and a purpose which Harold Wilson rediscovered in his famous ‘white heat’ speech.
Before the 1964 election, Labour’s Higher Education Study group concluded:
‘Economic expansion is only possible if university and technological education expands rapidly and continuously to provide the necessary brain power and skill’.
This was the analysis that inspired the great explosion of Polytechnics.
Today, we want colleges, universities and business to come together in a new alliance as they did in the 1960s.
Not in two different worlds. But in one, world-class system.
We want to open many routes – not just one road – to a degree and the better life degree level skills can open.
When we were last in office, we began the job of reform.
Bill Rammell gave colleges the right to apply for powers to award foundation degrees.
John Denham pioneered the Workforce Development Programme.
But the truth is today there are many rocks in the path of building the vocational path to degree level professional and technical skills.
Over the months ahead, we want your advice on turning this ambition into action.
Every so often in British politics, we arrive at this point where we see the skills challenge in a stark and profound way.
Back in 1944, Lord Percy, Rector of the Newcastle Division of Durham University put it like this: ‘the position of Great Britain as a leading industrial nation is being endangered by a failure to secure the fullest possible application of science to industry; and second that this failure is partly due to deficiencies in education’
I couldn’t put it better myself. And we are determined to change it.
There is no other way to a prosperity that is inclusive.
And a recovery for the many and not the few.
Thank you very much.
My speech to Parliamentary Links Day 2014 – Launching Labour’s Green Paper on Science – 24 June 2014
It was an honour to launch Labour’s Science Green Paper, entitled: Agenda 2030: One Nation Labour’s Plan for Science and Innovation, this morning at the annual Parliamentary Links Day 2014.
You can read the paper here.
My speech is in full below:
Strengthen British Science and Strengthen Britain
Launch of Labour’s Green Paper, Agenda 2030: One Nation Labour’s Plan for Science and Innovation
Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP
Speech to [Parliamentary Links Day], House of Commons, London. Tuesday, 24th June 2014
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It is a tremendous honour to help mark the greatest day of the year for science in parliament.
I want to pay an enormous tribute to Dr Stephen Benn and the Society of Biology for helping bring the day together.
I want to commend you all for the way so many people and so many organisations have come together from across the worlds of science and engineering to talk, debate, speculate and lobby and leave us here in parliament with fresh impressions, fresh analysis and fresh evidence of how important both science and engineering are to the future of our world.
I want to thank you above all for the inspiration of your example.
I count myself as very lucky to have known an extraordinary scientist from a very young age.
She was a biologist and a teacher and a head of science at comprehensive schools including my own.
She was someone who inspired in me a lifelong wonder for science, a curiosity, and an admiration.
Ruth Byrne was not only my teacher, she was my mother.
And when she died at the age of 52 from cancer of the pancreas, she left me not only with a sense of scientific possibility but a sense of how much work still lies ahead.
Science and Parliament
Your theme this year is about Parliamentary links to Science and Engineering. I want to offer you a view about how we cement science and engineering centre-stage in the run-up to the General Election. As we are in Parliament I thought it would be apposite to reflect on the way science and engineering, industry and politics come together today and the relationship that lies ahead.
Around 300 years ago, a very great writer left London on his travels around the country to write a book, which is today one of our finest records of Britain on the eve of the industrial Revolution.
Daniel Defoe’s ‘A plan of the English commerce, being a complete prospect of the trade of this nation’ paints a portrait of a country amidst tremendous change.
‘The most flourishing and opulent country in the world,’ he called it and the cause he said was clear; ‘Trade’ and its two daughters, ‘Manufacture and Navigation’
Defoe suspected that for all the advance he saw, something bigger was coming.
And he was right.
By the time ’A Plan’ was published in 1728, the Royal Society, founded in Gresham College, was 50 years old. Sir Isaac Newton, its great master, had died the year before and in Birmingham, one of founders of the industrial revolution, Matthew Boulton was born.
Over the next six decades, Boulton, together with his friends in the Lunar Society in a story wonderfully told by Jenny Uglow, took the traditions and methods of those great founders of the Royal Society and fused them to industrial method, helping trigger the industrial revolution.
A nation of explorers and traders quickly became a nation of inventors and industrialists. The worlds of science and industry were irrevocably connected.
Back in the early days of the Enlightenment, the French writer Diderot had observed that uniquely in Britain:
‘philosophers are honoured, respected; they rise to public offices, they are buried with kings’.
Well, it wasn’t long before we were putting great inventors and industrialists like James Watt alongside our philosophers and our kings.
But it was to take another century before science and industry were really fused with the dirty and difficult business of politics.
From the 1850s and 1890s, concern with the state of our science base, and the state of our schools gathered pace until under the burning pressure of world war one a real partnership came together;
- The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research was founded in 1915.
- Universities came to play a mission critical role in the work effort and crucially a new alliance between science, industry and government was hard-wired together.
And we’ve been trying to get the relationship right ever since.
Now that alliance has never been more important.
The scale of the problems, which I realise are merely solutions in disguise and which we are tackling today, are simply too big for one scientist, one university, one company, or one government to tackle alone.
The new partnerships that you see in such spectacular collaborations like the Gaia One Billion Star Surveyor, or the Hadron Collider are gigantic incarnations of the same ethos and approach that drove the Lunar Society, but they are global in scale.
These journeys of curiosity, exploring the endless frontier, are rightly your principal concern.
But there is a second reason the alliance is so vital.
Your country needs you.
Searching for some inspiring words for today’s speech, I stumbled across these in the House of Commons library last week;
‘the position of Great Britain as a leading industrial nation is being endangered by a failure to secure the fullest possible application of science to industry; and second that this failure is partly due to deficiencies in education’
Those were the words of Lord Percy, Rector of the Newcastle Division of Durham University, reporting to the government in 1944.
They could have been written last week.
Two years later, Lord Barlow agreed;
‘If we are to maintain our position in the world and restore and improve our standard of living’ he wrote ‘we have no alternative but to strive for that scientific achievement without which our trade will wither’.
What was true back in 1945 is true again today.
The Challenge Today
Our old enemy, ‘British disease’ is back with a vengeance.
That traditional crisis, of extremely low productivity while other nations streak ahead, now scars the recovery and haunts industry, making it even harder to escape today’s cost-of-living crisis.
Producing more with less, as every business owner knows, is the key to doing well and the fastest way to give your workers a pay rise.
But look at the figures today.
Since the last election, output for every hour worked has not gone up; it’s actually gone down. Equally, output per worker has not gone up. It’s gone down. We’re actually less productive than we were four years ago.
This appalling record is far worse than the last years of the 1970s, long deemed the moment when ‘British disease’ reached its peak but a period when output per worker, and output per hour worked actually rose by over 5%.
Worse, we’re now falling rapidly behind our competitors. The gap in productivity per hour between the UK economy and G7 average is now 21 per cent – the widest gap there has been since 1992.
This is absolutely fatal for any escape from the cost of living crisis. If companies can’t produce more then it’s not easy for firms to give their staff a pay rise.
As someone who started work behind a fry station in McDonalds, I know that any job is better than no job.
But I also know that a good job is better than a bad one and right now we’re simply not producing enough good jobs.
Today, the average full-time worker has to work an extra one hour and 52 minutes a week in 2013 to earn what they earned in real terms in 2010.
Look at our ‘knowledge economy’ and it becomes clear what is going wrong.
Economists and scientists now know that science and research is the key to growing productivity.
As the breakthrough report from Research Councils UK put it;
‘The greatest long-term productivity advances come through breakthroughs in basic knowledge’.
In the US, the authors of the Gathering Storm remind us that 85% of growth in wealth per capita is driven by innovation.
The knowledge economy is the powerhouse of productivity growth, creating better jobs with better wages.
Yet, with the honourable exception of automotive and aerospace, which Labour did so much to save during the global crash, the story isn’t good.
Getting innovation policy right is not actually rocket science. It is about people, ideas and money. You need great people, great institutions and strategic investment.
Yet, look at what is happening in the UK.
In 2012, the last year data is available, UK investment in R&D by government and business together has fallen by nearly £1 billion – (£923M) – the largest annual fall since consistent records began in the mid-1980s.
Amongst advanced Western nations, Britain now ranks 23rd out of 33 in the league table of R&D spenders.
In our most important research industry – pharmaceuticals – which accounts for a quarter of all UK R&D spending, research budgets have fallen by a huge £467 million since 2010, that’s a 10% fall.
In telecoms, one of our other leading R&D sectors, budgets have fallen by 20% – that’s £240M.
Look at our great institutions.
In our universities, the great epicentres of science and knowledge, we have the world’s best thinkers.
But their labs and classrooms now rest on a mountain of debt. University borrowing will reach £7.3bn worth of debt by 2015, an increase of £1.8 billion from 2012. That’s £45.6 million for every university in the UK.
Vice-chancellors tell me that falling research budgets now mean that the brain drain has been gathering pace for at least the last 18 months.
And that’s nothing when we consider the black hole that’s been created in the finances of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills by the Government’s unsustainable funding system.
The Public Accounts Committee now estimates that at current rates, students will be borrowing nearly £200 billion over the next twenty years to fund their studies and 45 per cent of this will be written off. It’s universities and our researchers of the future who will be paying the price.
And let’s not forget that other great institution that is important here.
The European Union.
European policy makers now understand that innovation is the only way out of austerity.
And the creation of the Horizon 2020 programme is proving crucial for the strength of British science, as UK universities, research centres and businesses can expect to receive £2bn in the first two years of the new funding round.
Leaving the EU, as some propose, would be absolutely catastrophic for science funding.
Third we must address human capital. The skills gap across the country grows worse. A fortnight ago, KPMG reported that skills shortages are bringing to a halt the plans of manufacturing firms to ‘re-shore’ work.
Since 2010, the number of people working in ‘Scientific research and development’ has fallen by over 12,000.
The Migration Advisory Committee has now added 117 high skilled roles to the shortage occupation list, which employers can fast track onto visas, because there are not enough skills in Britain.
The Royal Academy of Engineering estimates that we’re currently 36,000 short and at the rate we’re going there will still be big gaps to fill.
In our schools, Michael Gove’s disastrous School Direct scheme for teacher training has produced a huge shortage of physics teachers.
Half of state schools now send not one girl to do A Level physics.
Practical experiments have been taken out of the exam curriculum. The careers service has been destroyed. Apprenticeships for the under 24s are actually falling.
We cannot go on like this.
That’s why today I am pleased to be launching our green paper on science and innovation.
Our message is simple.
We need to strengthen British science – because British science will strengthen Britain.
We want to start a big debate on how business and government come together to grow the strength of science.
We want to work with the science and engineering community, in all parts of Britain to get the answers right.
We want to work across parties – because wherever we can maximise cross-party consensus we will.
We know that predictability and certainty are important; that they help make your work easier.
We want a new culture of science and evidence in public policy.
We want stronger universities with a bigger share of global science budgets and a bigger role in their regional economies.
And crucially we want to strengthen every rung on the ladder up into a science and engineering career for our young people.
As NESTA argued two weeks ago, the debate around science and engineering is seen by the public as vitally important.
In part, that’s because the public knows science, engineering and the business of innovation is key to the development of new cures for diseases, earlier diagnosis, greener, cheaper energy and crucially the jobs of the future.
The public knows that if we are not the pioneers then others will be.
If we don’t develop the jobs of the future, then others will.
And that will irreparably damage the opportunities of our children and our grand-children.
After all they are the very people for whom we want better chances than the chances that we enjoyed.
I think we know how futures are really built.
I think we learned that lesson a long time ago.
And now is not the time to ignore the lessons of history.
  http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11463&page=1. The 85% refers to the work of Robert Solow and Moses Abramovitz published in the middle 1950s demonstrated that as much as 85% of measured growth in US income per capita during the 1890-1950 period could not be explained by increases in the capital stock or other measurable inputs. The unexplained portion, referred to alternatively as the “residual” or “the measure of ignorance,” has been widely attributed to the effects of technological change
This morning I will be sharing our Green Paper on Science entitled – ‘Agenda 2030: One Nation Labour’s Plan for Science.’
If we are to build an opportunity economy with high skilled jobs and the wages to go with them then science and innovation have to be central to our strategy. Britain needs a long-term vision for science and this paper intends to start a discussion about what that vision should look like.
Please do read the document here and share your views.
With all best wishes
News from Liam Byrne MP
** Embargoed until 00:01 Wednesday 18 June **
‘Plan B’ for Marshalling Yard Could Save £35 million from City Dole Bill says Byrne
Liam Byrne will today call on Ministers to drop their plans for an HS2 marshalling yard in inner-city Birmingham and instead develop the site creating 7,000 jobs and saving up to £35 million a year in unemployment benefit.
The Hodge Hill MP who has led the charge for ‘jobs not sheds’ on the site has triggered a major debate in Parliament today on the validity of the plans. Other speakers are set to include Andrew Mitchell, the MP for Sutton Coldfield and Jack Dromey, MP for Erdington.
The proposed site is the size of 100 football pitches and makes up one third of the industrial land in Birmingham. It lies at the junction of Ladywood, Erdington and Hodge Hill – these three constituencies are together home to 45% of the City’s unemployed. HS2 will lock up the site as a construction yard for a decade before opening as the marshalling yard in the mid 2020’s.
Liam Byrne has worked with City planners to draw up plans which show that between 5-7000 jobs could be created on the site over the next five years. If these jobs went to local people, then the City’s dole queue would be almost halved saving the taxpayer nearly £35 million a year in Job Seekers’ Allowance.
Liam Byrne said:
“I am a supporter of HS2 but we’ve got to get it right for everyone in our City – not just for some.
This gigantic site has come together like a giant jigsaw puzzle for the first time in 100 years. Developing the site as a whole could create 5-7000 jobs in the short term. That would be a huge boost to the worst unemployment hotspot in Britain.
What today’s debate is all about is simple. If HS2 destroys our best chance in a generation to get our community back to work, then they need to show just how they will create a similar number of jobs in the short term – not in ten years’ time.”
1. Liam Byrne’s 90 minute Westminster Hall Adjournment Debate will take place from 09:30 – 11:00 on the morning of Wednesday 18 June 2014.
2. The latest unemployment figures (courtesy of the House of Commons Library) for Birmingham are as follows:
|Birmingham, Hodge Hill||5,379||7.4|
In total there were 16,659 JSA claimants in these three constituencies in May 2014, compared with 37,720 across Birmingham as a whole. JSA claimants in these constituencies were therefore 44% of all JSA claimants in Birmingham.
Data on the cost of JSA by constituency is available in DWP benefit expenditure and caseload statistics. The most recent annual data is for 2012-13. According to this data, in 2012-13 expenditure on JSA in Birmingham Erdington, Hodge Hill, and Ladywood was as follows.
Erdington: £18.2 million
Hodge Hill: £24.4 million
Ladywood: £31.3 million
Total expenditure on JSA in these three constituencies was therefore £73.8 million in 2012-13.
Please note that expenditure in each Parliamentary Constituency is estimated by the DWP using National Statistics published data on benefit caseloads and average amounts of benefit, applied to out-turn expenditure totals. This implicitly assumes that overpayments and other adjustments to total benefit spend are spread pro-rata across Parliamentary Constituencies.
Unemployment in Hodge Hill continues to fall as Birmingham City Council efforts take effect – May 2014
Great news, figures from the Office of National Statistics show that we’ve seen another month of falling unemployment in Hodge Hill. May also saw Labour returned as the majority party in the City’s council enabling us to continue the fight against unemployment.
The number of unemployed claimants in Birmingham, Hodge Hill constituency in May 2014 was 5,379. This represents a rate of 12.0% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64.
There is still much work to be done but the new figures show that the number of people claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA) is 1216 lower than in May 2013 and 201 lower than in April 2014.
Labour will continue to fight unemployment – seeking to create more jobs both in Hodge Hill and across Birmingham.
Great news, figures from the Office of National Statistics show that unemployment has fallen again in Hodge Hill.
The number of unemployed claimants in Birmingham, Hodge Hill constituency in April 2014 was 5,580. This represents a rate of 12.7% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64
This number is far too high and there is still much work to be done but the new figures show that the number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) is 1088 lower than in April 2013 and 104 lower than in March 2014.
These figures show that Birmingham City Council’s efforts to tackle unemployment are making a real difference here in Hodge Hill – very encouraging.
All the best
Earlier this week I visited Rolls-Royce’s state-of-the-art site based in Derby.
This is Rolls-Royce’s main site in the UK and it is stunning. With assembly suites and test beds for ground-breaking jet engines the size of a small house the site is truly amazing.
I was privileged to have a tour of the site, see some of the engines being tested and learn more about this world-leading company based in the heart of Britain.
Rolls-Royce prides itself on it’s highly skilled workforce. Of it’s over 40,000 employees across the globe almost half are highly qualified engineers.
But Rolls-Royce is not being complacent – they are investing in the next generation of their workforce. They currently spend almost £40 million on training and development.
A large part of this is based at Rolls-Royce Apprentice Academy in Derby. I was privileged to be given a tour of the Academy’s three-storey, 3,850 square metre site replete with workshops and hundreds of apprentices. A Rolls-Royce apprenticeship is a passport to a secure job and success – members of the senior management at Rolls-Royce began their working lives as apprentices and have climbed their way to the top. In fact it is more competitive to secure a Rolls-Royce apprenticeship than it is to get into an Oxford college. When an Apprentice begins at Rolls-Royce they are told that the sky is the limit and that there is no limit to how far they could go.
We need to see more Rolls-Royce’s across our country and we need to see the number of high quality apprenticeships increase dramatically if we are to tackle the skills shortage and the cost of living crisis which our country is facing.
Liam with Rolls-Royce Apprentices at the Rolls-Royce Apprenticeship Academy in Derby
Commenting on the 2013 Employer Skills Survey, published today (Thursday) by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“It’s great that more businesses want to recruit. But with jobseekers outnumbering vacancies by four to one, it’s hugely frustrating that across the UK a large number of jobs go unfilled because of local skills shortages.
“It’s also concerning that so few employers are recruiting directly from our schools, colleges and universities, especially as those that do are very positive about taking young people on.
“Employers, unions and government must each play their part in tackling the UK’s damaging skills shortages. Businesses must increase their training budgets, government must expand and improve the quality of apprenticeships, and union learning reps must continue to remind staff that it’s never too late to learn new skills.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The UKCES employer skills survey is available from Alex Curling in the UKCES press office at Alex.Curling@ukces.org.uk
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews
The ONS has recently published the unemployment figures for December 2013 by constituency. The key facts are as follows:
The number of unemployed claimants in Birmingham, Hodge Hill constituency in December 2013 was 5,894. This represents a rate of 13.4% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64, the 2nd highest of the 650 UK constituencies. (1st = highest rate of unemployment, 650th = lowest rate of unemployment.)
The number of claimants is 889 lower than in December 2012 and 58 lower than in November 2013. These data are not seasonally adjusted.
Unemployment continues to damage our community and the aspirations of our young people. I remain committed to seeing unemployment in Hodge Hill fall. Compared to December 2012 the figures show that less people are unemployed but there is still much to be done – I am committed to seeing more stable and well paid jobs for the residents of Hodge Hill.