Richard raises question of skills in Commons


Questioning Angela Eagle MP, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury in the House of Commons, Richard raised with her the importance of the Government making provision for skills in growth industries, such as environmental technologies. Richard has been pressing stakeholders in Birmingham to consider ways to encourage firms involved in this innovative business to set up on the Longbridge site. The Hansard transcript is below.

11. Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield) (Lab): What recent assessment he has made of the economic impact of the quality and range of skills of the UK work force. [158869]

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (Angela Eagle): As Lord Leitch set out in his independent report about the United Kingdom’s long-term skills needs, the improving skills profile in the UK work force over time has contributed to economic growth. The Government will increase expenditure on higher education and adult skills in England by more than £2 billion in the next three years. That will support further improvements in the UK skills base at all levels.

Richard Burden: I warmly welcome the investment in skills that was announced in the past week. Does my hon. Friend agree that, if we are to use the money effectively, it is important to point out that the skills required for excellence in our traditional manufacturing such as engineering and automotive are highly transferable to growth areas—for example, environmental technologies? Does she also agree that making that link in practice in our initiatives is important not only for prosperity but for raising aspiration in industrial areas, such as mine and hers, that are undergoing transition?

Angela Eagle: I could not agree more with my hon. Friend. In passing, I note that the National Skills Academy for Manufacturing was formally launched this year and that its head office is in the west midlands. One of the pilot areas for the train-to-gain technical level 3 skills in the workplace is also in the west midlands. Nearly 7,000 west midlands businesses have been engaged with 8,000 low-skilled employees to improve their basic skills.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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