Jarrow MP raises concerns about education funding after questioning Boris Johnson in Parliament

The MP for Jarrow has said Boris Johnson ‘had no idea’ about the in-work training and education fund his government recently ditched, after quizzing the Prime Minister on the scheme in the House of Commons.

Saturday, 21st November 2020, 7:00 am

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.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Jarrow MP took Boris Johnson to task over Number 10's scrapping of the Union Learning Fund during PMQs this week

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.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks via video link from 10 Downing Street during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. Mr Johnson is self-isolating after coming into contact with an MP who has since tested positive for coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday November 18, 2020. See PA story POLITICS PMQs. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/PA Wire

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.”

Read More

Read More
Read more: Anger as Government denies South Tyneside schools hundreds of laptops...

Support your Gazette and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest football stories and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.