Local News

Another broken Conservative promise as number of starting apprenticeships in North Norfolk down by nearly 50%

31 May 2024
Steffan Aquarone

The facts:

  • In North Norfolk, there were 350 fewer apprenticeship starts in 2022/23 than the 2015/16
  • The number of people starting apprenticeships in North Norfolk has fallen by 47.3% since 2015/16
  • Steff Aquarone has slammed the Conservatives’ legacy of failure on apprenticeships and called for the apprenticeship levy to be scrapped and reformed.

It comes as the Conservative have announced a new policy to boost the number of apprenticeships despite a decline of 172,000 apprenticeship starts per year in England, a fall of over a third.

The Liberal Democrats committed to increase pay for apprenticeships to at least the minimum wage and for the apprenticeship levy to be scrapped. This was introduced by the Conservative government in April 2017. Under current rules, firms with an annual wage bill of above £3m must set aside 0.5% of their payroll to apprenticeships.

However, many organisations are unable to use the funds, where levy money is then reclaimed by the Treasury if remaining unused for two years. The resultant collapse in people starting apprenticeship is widening the skills shortages, and making it harder to encourage young people into the workforce.

Steff Aquarone, the Liberal Democrat candidate for North Norfolk said:

“Young people across the country are being let down by a Conservative party that has failed to give them the opportunities they deserve and give businesses the flexibility they desperately need. 

“The declining number of people starting apprenticeships in North Norfolk shows just how badly broken this Conservative government has left our apprenticeship system.

“Duncan Baker told North Norfolk’s young people how much he valued apprenticeships, but once again he has failed to deliver for his constituents. People in North Norfolk are fed up with having a Conservative MP who talks the talk, but never walks the walk.

“Urgent reform is needed. That’s why the Liberal Democrats committed to increasing the apprenticeship wage to stop treating apprentices as second class workers and to reform the apprenticeship levy to boost numbers and stop the decline we have seen under this Conservative government.”


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