London ,

Letter to Financial Times from Mark Boleat on devolving skills funding

Dear Sir,

The CBI and TUC stated in their joint interview (‘Adversaries urge companies to lift skills spending’-November 25) that businesses, and not just Government, need to take responsibility for fixing the UK’s skills and productivity problems. While I agree that businesses should do more (only 10 per cent of UK employers hire apprentices), I believe that rather than funneling public money for apprenticeships through employers as the interview suggested, a more effective solution would involve devolving skills funding to local government.

Local councils have comprehensive knowledge of their communities as well as strong relationships with businesses, training providers and educational institutions. They are best placed to match the skills provision with the needs of employers in their areas. They can, and already are, acting as broker to ensure that local residents have the opportunity to gain the skills that will help them break a cycle of unemployment and underemployment.

Mark Boleat, policy chairman of the City of London Corporation