Inclusion and NIACE: referrals for government spending review

8 September 2015

Inclusion and NIACE have released a joint Spending Review Representation, which calls upon the Government to commit to a clear strategy of investment in lifelong learning, skills and employment support. The Spending Review Representation outlines a framework of policy suggestions for the government, which would maximise the impact of public investment and encourage greater levels of individual and employer investment leading to three key outcomes; supporting those with the least ability to pay and/or who have the greatest need, ensure that the widest possible numbers can benefit from support and learning, and finally deliver greater efficiencies and effectiveness within learning and support delivery.

Key measures which would support the Government’s ambitions to reach full employment whilst leading a more productive and balanced economy include:

• A clear commitment to prioritise investment in learning, skills and employment.

• Personal Career Accounts to deliver greater investment from individuals and employers.

• A new Apprenticeship Quality & Access Fund ring-fenced from the Apprenticeship Levy to drive forward greater demand for businesses and help Government achieve their 3 million target.

• A single funding agency for all post 19 loans, merging SFA and HEFCE to maximise the investment that goes to the frontline and improve parity of esteem between academic and vocational routes.

• A new radical vision for Community Learning, maximising its ability to support the breadth of government policy, including employment and skills, mental and public health, stronger families, digital engagement, social mobility, inclusive communities, healthy ageing and strengthening civil society.

• A radical refocusing of employment support for disabled people, merging Employment and Support Allowance support currently within Work Choice and the Work Programme to provide much more effective support to help halve the disability employment gap.

David Hughes, chief executive at NIACE commented:

“Government needs to use this spending review to make an important commitment to prioritise investment in learning, skills and employment. This is critical to nurturing our economy, helping to strengthen productivity and ensuring that economic growth is inclusive . Our proposals as good for people and businesses, boosting opportunity and competitiveness in the global economy and improving public services – contributing to sustainable improvements in tax revenues and reductions in spending pressures.”

“If the Government wants to fulfil its own ambitions and aspirations for a more productive Britain, halving the disability unemployment gap and creating 3 million Apprenticeships, then it must ensure that adults of all ages have opportunities to learn and to get on in work and in life. Far too many people are missing out which not only threatens their own life chances, but damages the prospects for increased workforce productivity, and for sustained economic growth”.