St Helens South and Whiston MP Marie Rimmer has called on the Government to rethink their policy on funding for apprentices in the face of an announcement that cuts to the apprentices budget will reach 50% by May 2017.
On Friday 19th August, the Government (via the Skills Funding Agency) published proposed funding cuts for apprenticeship starts beginning from 1 May 2017 onwards. Analysis*1 shows that proposed funding for 16-18 year old apprenticeships will be cut by around 30%, rising to 50% for apprentices living in the most deprived areas.
Marie said: “These cuts shows that, regardless of what she said on the steps of Downing Street in July, Theresa May's government, just like Cameron's before it, is hitting the poorest the hardest and making it even more difficult for those who are trying to do the right thing and get on.
“The Tories may say that they want to help anybody, regardless of their background but yet again what they are saying and what they are doing are completely at odds with one another. Cutting this funding hugely undermines the Government’s pledge to create three million apprenticeships by 2020 and will leave our economy on a much weaker foundation for the future.
“I've just co-signed a letter to the Government opposing their cuts to the skills budget. The Government needs to be doing much more to help young people from working class and low income backgrounds into skilled employment, instead of cutting funding rates for apprenticeships to make sure that we make work pay and give young people the opportunities they deserve.”
St Helens currently has 310 of 16-18 year olds on apprenticeships and received £1,571,266*2 worth of funding from the Skills Funding Agency in the last year. Under the Government’s latest proposals, this funding is likely to be cut by up to £786,000 which could mean around 140 fewer apprenticeships in the constituency.