LGA calls for devolved employment and skills funding

LGA calls for devolved employment and skills funding

The LGA says that the number of people improving their skills or finding work could increase by 15 per cent if councils had more control over employment and skills provision.

Analysis by the Learning and Work Institute found that about £20 billion is spent by central government on at least 49 national employment and skills related schemes or services in England, managed by nine Whitehall departments and agencies. This includes programmes such as the Levelling Up Fund, Towns Fund and Help to Grow, as well as support to get people into work and training including Restart, Bootcamps and the National Careers Service.

The LGA says that the disjointed nature of these schemes makes it difficult to target and join up provision for learners, unemployed people, career changers and businesses.

The Association suggests that a single place-based fund, where powers over national employment and skills-related schemes are devolved to local leaders, could better support unemployed people into work and improve residents’ skills, and makes more sense than councils bidding for separate pots of funding for different projects, which cannot be used together. This would mean an end to competitive bidding and a move to long-term funding attached to specified, achievable targets.

Mayor Marvin Rees, Chair of the LGA’s City Regions Board, said:

“Every area has its own unique labour market including a mix of jobs, qualification levels, unemployment and vacancies. Councils and combined authorities want to unlock this potential talent, using their unrivalled local insight and knowledge to bring employers, training providers and jobseekers together with their proven track record in delivering more for less.

“They are making the best of the national system, but the Government now needs to do its bit by joining up the system and working with us to plan and deliver more effective support to residents and businesses.

“Given the right resources, our research shows that councils can create new jobs, offer new training and spread opportunities to more people, in our shared endeavour to level up the country.”

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