SEEC reacts to the Prime Minister’s skills speech

Tuesday, 29 September, 2020

The Chairman of South East England Councils (SEEC) has reacted to the Prime Minister’s skills speech, Councillor Roy Perry said:

An essential component of the UK’s economic recovery from Covid-19 will be ensuring that businesses have a sufficient supply of suitably skilled workers, and are able to adapt to changing demands.

The Prime Minister rightly highlighted during his speech that the country has a shortage of skills in so many crucial areas, particularly in construction, engineering and IT, which firms in the South East rely upon. While this was a speech aimed at tackling the shortages of skills nationally, this Government must recognise the needs of different regions and not adopt a one size fits all approach.

This is evidenced by polling commissioned by us that revealed, 52% of all respondents believe Skilled/Manual/Technical roles should be prioritised for education, training and skills investment in their local area4.

Furthermore, with 80% of 275 councillors polled in the South East5 citing digital infrastructure as a high-priority for investment, as part of the government’s economic recovery efforts, it was reassuring that the Prime Minister sought to expand the government’s ‘digital boot camps’ to aid learning in IT regardless of age.

The South East plays a pivotal role in the success of the UK’s economy, therefore should have a greater say in skills policy. We would therefore like to see a greater degree of autonomy, both in terms of responsibilities and fiscally so that as a region we can adapt to shifting demands more readily. After all, councils are best placed to make these decisions, as they are integrated into their local communities, and frequently engage with their respective business communities.”


Notes to editors:

  1. Councillor Roy Perry is available for interview.
  2. With most local councils as members, SEEC works in partnership to make the region a great place to live, work and do business
  3. SEEC is a recognised cross-party regional grouping that cooperates with the Local Government Association (LGA).
  4. Savanta ComRes interviewed 504 South East England adults aged 18+, 278 South East England businesses, and 261 South East England councillors online between 4-17 September 2020
  5. SEEC commissioned Savanta ComRes to survey opinions of 275 Councillors across South East England between 13 and 23 July 2020
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