Easington MP Grahame Morris has written to the Education Secretary calling on him to reverse the decision to end funding to the TUC Union Learning Programme.
In his letter to Gavin Williamson MP, Mr Morris highlights promises by the Prime Minister and Chancellor to ‘build back better’ and fund skills and training as part of the post-Covid recovery.
The Union Learning Fund was set up in 1998 and has been supported by governments of all parties. It increases access to learning and training in workplaces, brokered by unions. In 2019-20, it supported 200,000 learners – both union members and non-members.
These learners undertake a wide range of learning and training related to work, including basic literacy and numeracy, ICT skills, ESOL, apprenticeships and traineeships, vocational training, and ongoing professional development.
Union learning gets working people into skills training they would not otherwise have access to and all union learning is directly relevant to the workplace, tailored to workers and supported by government funding.
Unions were told of the proposal to scrap the £12 million annual fund in a letter from the Department for Education just days after the Prime Minister gave a speech on the importance of skills in the government’s plans to ‘build back better’.
Easington MP Grahame Morris, Chair of the Unite the Union Parliamentary Group said:
“The Union Learning Fund provides mutual benefits for workers, unions, business and the government. The Learning Fund represents exceptional value for money to the taxpayer by delivering the workplace skills employers need. The Union Learning Fund is an example of best practice in industrial relations, representing how we can create good and efficient workplaces when the government is willing to co-operate and engage constructively with business and trade unions.
This is a damaging decision and the Minister should reverse this decision at the earliest opportunity and support workplace learning which benefits the economy.”