Commenting in response to today’s report by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee’s report into the Government’s Industrial Strategy, ERSA’s chief Executive Kirsty McHugh, said:

“Today’s report echoes many of ERSA’s own concerns with the Government’s industrial strategy. The productivity crisis is one of the big public policy challenges of our time, and the report fails to deliver a working vision of how we can start to address this. Worryingly, with an 80% cut in nationally contracted specialist employment support this year, the Government is in danger of harming a crucial ingredient – in-work progression. Instead, more people will now rely on an overstretched Jobcentre Plus, unable to provide the support necessary to help people to move off low incomes and up-skill.

“On skills, the Government must go beyond the proposals set out in the industrial strategy to build a more joined-up approach. A starting point would be to integrate employability skills into the standard offer of all schools, while any skills deficit among young people should be identified and tackled on day one of a benefit claim.

“In the context of Brexit, it is all the more critical that the Government gets its industrial strategy right, and avoids productivity actually worsening. With likely significant changes in the labour market to come, the Government must invest in additional funding for upskilling or reskilling workers.”