All of the party manifesto’s are now out and having read through all them, varying in size from a positively modest 80 pages for the conservatives to a tremendous, 160 pages from the Lib Dems, I have compiled a grid of those policy proposals from Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party which impact upon the employability sector. The grid shows that there is a big focus from all three parties on youth employment issues, addressing mental health and offering more support for working families. So if you would like to base your vote on what the parties are putting forward for our sector then do take a look and cast your vote by results on 7th May for the party whose policies best match the results you want to see.
By way of an overview there is a strong theme running through all of the manifestos around rewarding hard work and ensuring prosperity for the UK. The Conservatives are keen to promote measures designed to support working families and business. Labour similarly focus on families and the role of communities, as well as securing opportunity for young people. Liberal Democrats and SNP emphasise taking a fairer approach to support everyone to achieve their potential.
In terms of employment support, both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are looking to build on a Work Programme type approach in the future. The Liberal Democrats in particular highlight that they are looking to improve incentives for Jobcentre Plus and providers to meet the need of the hardest to help and SNP will aim to make employment support and training more tailored to local employment markets and better integrated with other services.
Alternatively Labour has stated that it will commission a replacement for the Work Programme at a more local level, working with local authorities to join up support for the long-term unemployed, as well as a job guarantee for over 25s. Labour will also introduce a compulsory jobs guarantee for young people, which will provide a paid starter job for every young person unemployed for over a year. Like Labour, the Conservatives will be pursuing a policy of ensuring that young people are ‘earning or learning’ and both parties will look to replace benefits for 18 to 21-year-olds with a new Youth Allowance. Liberal Democrats and SNP are both keen to raise the number of apprenticeships and meet the needs of local labour markets.
You can see the full summary of key manifesto pledges for the employability sector here.