Nearly half of England’s local labour markets are at risk due to an imminent 'migration squeeze' posed by Brexit, automation and an inadequately skilled workforce, a new report has warned.
Research by the think-tank Localis has found that an ‘above average’ level of risk is prevalent across a majority of strategic authority areas in England due to three main factors.
The report said that Brexit poses a risk in 22 of the 47 strategic authority areas, automation in 23 out of 47 areas, and an inability to meet current skill demands in 26 out of 47 locations.
The report has called the inequity in the labour markets across England ‘staggering’.
It also found that too much money – in the form of public, private and foreign investment, infrastructure and research and development funds – flows into London, Oxford and Cambridge.
More than a ‘north-south’ divide, the report said that there are disparities within both the north and south.
One example given is how Kent and Essex in the south-east need just as much support as some parts in the north-east.
The report further found that local labour markets in rural county areas form 90% of the locations most at risk.
The County Councils Network (CCN) called on the Government to devolve skills budgets and adult education powers to counties in order to address this looming threat.
CCN chairman, Paul Carter, said: ‘County authorities have the ambition, size, and expertise to engineer real change in their local skills market, but are shackled by a lack of powers.
‘This report by Localis sets out a deliverable framework to develop local labour market strategies. By devolving significant skills budgets and adult education powers, we can begin to create make a difference locally and a more prosperous country nationally.’