William Eichler 17 June 2020

Council chiefs call for devolution of skills investment

Local authority leaders have said they will work with the Government to develop post-Covid economic recovery plans as official figures reveal a dramatic fall in employment.

Official figures published today show that employment fell by an estimated 612,000 between March and May, and HMRC figures reveal that 9.1 million workers are having their wages paid through the Government’s furlough scheme.

The Local Government Association (LGA) warns that this fall in employment threatens ‘local economies’. However, they also say this is a good time to devolve skills investment and back-to-work support to local areas.

‘Councils want to work with the Government to develop post COVID-19 economic recovery options, including increased national investment to create jobs and help young people and adults secure them,’ said Cllr David Renard, economy spokesman for the LGA.

‘The pandemic provides a real opportunity to devolve skills investment and back-to-work support to local areas so councils can work with businesses and education providers to ensure people are trained and retrained with new skillsets and qualifications, enabling our diverse communities to have the best possible chance of contributing to and benefiting from any economic reboot.’

‘Our recent report shows that more than a million green jobs could be created in England by 2050 as the nation transitions to a net zero economy and will help to counter the unprecedented job losses due to coronavirus,’ he continued.

‘Empowering councils, with their unrivalled local knowledge and expertise, will ensure the workforce in every region of the country can benefit from emerging employment opportunities.’

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