I would like to highlight two parts of last week’s budget that was delivered by the Chancellor Philip Hammond.
The government are describing the investment in technical education as being the most ambitious post-16 education reforms since A-levels were introduced 70 years ago. That is a bold claim but it does stack up. Indeed, the well-respected CBI (Confederation of British Industry) said “This is a breakthrough Budget for skills. There has never been a more important time for the UK to sit at the global top table of technical education for young people.”
We all know about academic education and that has seen much progress, but as a country we still need to do more to enable young people to learn the skills that will not only provide them with good job prospects, but that will also help address the skills shortages that often exist in Britain. The Conservative government will provide funding to increase the number of training hours for 16-19 year old technical education students by over 50%, with 15 new technical routes and a high-quality work placement for every student.
Once this programme is fully rolled out, this investment will provide additional funding of over £500 million a year in our 16-19 year olds. I view this as another example of the Conservatives working to get things right for the long term.
The second area I wish to highlight is the very welcome increased funding for Adult Social Care. In West Sussex, Council services support around 13,000 older people. The number of over 75s in West Sussex will increase by an additional 2,200 people each year until 2021 and then the increase is forecast to double to 4,400 every year.
Last week’s budget committed additional funding of £2 billion for social care in England over the next three years, with West Sussex receiving allocations of £11.3million, £9.3million and £4.6million over the these three years (total £25million) to help address the care needs of our growing elderly population. This increase won’t solve the long-term pressures but it will allow time to help find longer term solutions for funding.