The Chancellor put himself in the driving seat to ‘Restart’ the economy but the ignition failed and someone appears to have stolen the satnav.
With a slice off the aid budget here and a little for nurses there, Rishi Sunak’s spending review had one eye on the backseat drivers on Twitter, and ultimately pleased no one.
Upskilling the nation through apprenticeships should be a top priority and would help get the country moving again, but the Chancellor missed the turning.
Rishi Sunak outlined plans to use £3 billion to help more than one million people back to work. It’s an idea that must have looked good on paper but lacked detail, except to say job seekers will get tailored assistance, something which already exists.
Restart was probably created by consultants. The name probably came first – the content might follow later. But the idea of a new beginning does open the door to look to a new look future, with a renewed focus on training British people.
The Government needs to put its full weight behind apprenticeships instead of half-heartedly, with non-committal plans like Kickstart.
Currently, its £1.5bn Kickstart project offers around £1,500-£2,000 to businesses which take on apprentices for six months, but alienates most, especially small, businesses. Apprenticeship starts have plummeted, which is not surprising. What small business will create a new position for £2,000, when it can cost around £40,000 to train an apprentice over four years?
This scheme needs to be completely revamped and made more attractive. It could be tied into his new Restart scheme. For a start, there needs to be more investment over a longer period of time – even business apprenticeships last 18 months.
The same goes for this idea of ‘levelling up.’ The £4 billion earmarked for this needs to be used to train and retrain people affected by this crisis. Boris wants windfarms everywhere; who is going to build them? The answer is obvious to me.
The Chancellor and the Government need to get a firm grip on the wheel and focus on the road ahead by re-skilling people of all ages so they can help rebuild our economy.
Huge infrastructure projects such as HS2 are on the horizon, more homes need to be built and there is a general shift towards a green economy. People will need training up to do the jobs in these industries and the Government must steer the economy in the right direction by creating more apprenticeships and properly funded training schemes.