UK skills shortage could cost £90bn per year with Brexit to make things worse, say councils

'Without radical reform, swathes of people face a future where they have skills mismatched for jobs,' said Cllr Sir Richard Leese

Long-term analysis says official statistics underplay larger proportion of young people shut out of employment, education and training
Long-term analysis says official statistics underplay larger proportion of young people shut out of employment, education and training

Failure to address the lack of skills in the UK workforce could cost the country £90bn a year, leaving workers £1,176 a year worse off on average, according to new research.

Limits on migration after Brexit could make this “worrying” situation worse and “urgent” action is needed, according to the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils across England and Wales.

The organisation, which promotes education and training, found that government-provided skills and employment programmes costing £10.5bn are “confusing, fragmented, untargeted and ineffective”.

The study revealed 17 different funding streams managed by eight departments or agencies.

“Despite this investment, they often fail to meet local need, address economic and social challenges, or make a decisive impact on outcomes for people or places,” the LGA said in a report published on Wednesday. “This is bad for the economy, for employers and for individuals.”

On current trends, the LGA estimates that by 2024 there will be more than 4 million too few high skilled people to meet demand for high skilled jobs; and more than 6 million too many low skilled. A total of 9 million people already lack literacy and numeracy skills, according to the report.

To combat the problem, the Government should hand more power and funding to councils across England and Wales, allowing them to deliver a “one-stop” local service for skills, apprenticeship, employment, careers advice and business support provision within five years, the LGA said.

Cllr Sir Richard Leese, chair of the LGA’s city regions board, said the research “paints a worrying vision of the skills gap facing the nation”.

He added: “Without radical reform, swathes of people face a future where they have skills mismatched for jobs, risking them being in low paid, insecure work, and reliant on benefits, at a huge cost to people’s lives and the local and national economy.

“Limits on EU migration after Brexit could exacerbate these skills challenges which makes it more important than ever to have a better system in place for retraining and upskilling the current workforce.”

The news comes just a week after a survey by Deloitte revealed that more than a million foreign workers could be preparing to ditch Britain, adding to fears that the country is facing a Brexit brain drain.

The poll found that 36 per cent of non-British workers in the UK are thinking about leaving by 2022, with 26 per cent planning to move even sooner, by 2020.

This figure represents 1.2 million jobs out of 3.4 million migrant workers in Britain, underscoring the severe jobs crisis facing the country as it begins the process of extracting itself from the European Union.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in