Jarrow MP raises concerns about education funding after questioning Boris Johnson in Parliament
and live on Freeview channel 276
Kate Osborne put Mr Johnson on the spot over Number 10’s decision to scrap the Union Learning Fund (ULF) during Prime Minister’s Questions this week.
Employers, organisations and the Trade Union Congress argue that the fund helps around 200,000 workers nationwide receive different forms of education and training they would have difficulty accessing elsewhere.
The ULF helps workers in different sectors boost ICT skills, basic literacy, numeracy, as well as undertaking apprenticeships and vocational training, among other initiatives.
Ms Osborne asked Boris Johnson in Parliament: “With unemployment levels rising, will the Prime Minister today act on his commitment to offer a lifetime skills guarantee to help people to train and retrain at any stage in their lives, and reverse this decision to ensure that working people can access education, training and skills for the future?”
Mr Johnson replied: “That is exactly what we announced only a few weeks ago with the lifetime skills guarantee.
"The purpose of the lifetime skills guarantee is this: if you are over 23, you are not currently eligible for support from the Government in getting a new skill or a new qualification, but we will now pay you for that skill—we will support you.
"Particularly in the context of this pandemic, we want to help to train and retrain people throughout their lives so that they can adjust to our changing economy. The hon. Lady makes a very good point.”
But Ms Osborne was left unimpressed by the UK premier’s response.
She told The Gazette yesterday: “When the Prime Minster started by saying ‘that’s what we announced only a few weeks ago’, I had a glimmer of hope but unfortunately it very quickly became apparent that it was not the case.
"He clearly had no idea what the Union Learning Fund was and did not answer the question.
"I will be following this very important issue up in writing, to explain to him what his Government plans are, and to ask him to take action to continue the much needed ULF.”