Amos attacks Tories over apprenticeships

10 Jun 2024
Election campaign

The number of people starting apprenticeships in Taunton Deane has fallen by 22.81% since 2015-16, House of Commons Library research analysed by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

It comes as the Conservative have announced a new policy to boost the number of apprenticeships despite a decline of 172,000 apprenticeship starts per year in England, a fall of over a third.

The Liberal Democrats committed to increase pay for apprenticeships to at least the minimum wage and for the apprenticeship levy to be scrapped. 

This levy was introduced by the Conservative government in April 2017. Under current rules, firms with an annual wage bill of above £3m must set aside 0.5% of their payroll to apprenticeships.

However, many organisations are unable to use the funds, where levy money is then reclaimed by the Treasury if remaining unused for two years. 

The resultant collapse in people starting apprenticeship is widening the skills shortages, and making it harder to encourage young people into the workforce.

Gideon Amos, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Taunton and Wellington, said: “When I visited Bridgwater and Taunton College with the former Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable in 2019, it was clear they had benefited from his creation of two million apprenticeships up to 2015, after which the Conservatives took over the government.

"The massive reduction in apprenticeships since is disastrous. 

"The Conservatives seem to just keep taking opportunities away from our young people - our children and grandchildren in Taunton and Wellington and across the country - and by failing on apprenticeships they have also failed our local businesses and entrepreneurs - the things our economy really needs. 

“That’s why, as Liberal Democrats, we are committed to increasing apprentices so they’re no longer treated as second class citizens and to reform the apprenticeship levy to boost numbers and stop the massive decline in apprenticeships we’ve seen under the Conservative government.”

This website uses cookies

Like most websites, this site uses cookies. Some are required to make it work, while others are used for statistical or marketing purposes. If you choose not to allow cookies some features may not be available, such as content from other websites. Please read our Cookie Policy for more information.

Essential cookies enable basic functions and are necessary for the website to function properly.
Statistics cookies collect information anonymously. This information helps us to understand how our visitors use our website.
Marketing cookies are used by third parties or publishers to display personalized advertisements. They do this by tracking visitors across websites.