20 June 2023
Aldous calls on Treasury to help remove barriers preventing people acquiring new skills to get better-paid jobs

Peter Aldous calls on the Treasury to work with other Government Departments to ensure that the Lifelong Learning Bill gets rid of barriers preventing people on lower incomes from acquiring the new skills necessary for them to get better-paid jobs.

People on Lower Incomes: Financial Support

Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con)

16. What steps he is taking to provide financial support to people on lower incomes. (905514)

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Victoria Atkins)

The Government recognise the challenges facing households as a result of the elevated cost of living, and we took further action in this year’s spring Budget to provide targeted support to protect the most vulnerable. That included the new cost of living payments this year, help with the cost of essentials through a further extension of the household support fund in England, and the uprating of benefits in line with inflation in April this year.

Peter Aldous 

One of the best ways of supporting those on lower incomes is to remove the barriers that prevent them from acquiring the new skills that are necessary for better-paid jobs. Will my hon. Friend confirm that the Treasury is working closely with the Department for Education and the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that the Lifelong Learning (Higher Education Fee Limits) Bill gets rid of those obstacles, and can she provide an update on the progress of the Barber review?

Victoria Atkins 

I know that you like Ministers to answer briefly, Mr Speaker, so, if I may, I will answer my hon. Friend’s first question now and respond in writing to his question about the Barber review.

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor made employment one of the four Es in his drive for growth in the spring Budget, and we are working closely with the Department for Education to invest in exactly the way that my hon. Friend describes. That includes investment in free courses for jobs, which enable people to study high-value level 3 subjects and gain free qualifications, and employer-led skills bootcamps in high-growth areas—a phrase that I never thought I would find myself uttering—which, apparently, involve sectors such as digital, and are available to those who are either unemployed or in work and wanting to retrain.