July was a busy month for our team, heavily focused on advocating our Skills Action Plan’s call for the Government to review the apprenticeship levy. Apprenticeship starts continue to decline, and our own survey found that 61% of businesses feel the levy needs improvement. We’ve met with key stakeholders, including in DfE, BEIS, Downing Street, and the Labour party, to make this case. We will continue this dialogue with stakeholders across Whitehall and Westminster throughout August and in the run-up to party conference season.
Alongside this, we continued to press the Government to ensure our future immigration system works for employers. A number of members joined us at No. 10 to speak to the Prime Minister’s advisers about current and potential impacts of Brexit on employers’ ability to recruit and retain staff. With the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations and Immigration White Paper expected in the autumn, we will be strengthening our proposal, putting forward recommendations on how the UK should fill labour and skills shortages in the future.
July brought key dates to the Brexit calendar with the emergence of the Chequers plan and publication of the Brexit White Paper. We brought partner members together for a rich roundtable discussion with the chair of the Treasury Select Committee, Nicky Morgan, who arrived immediately following a key Brexit vote in Parliament. Members were able to candidly exchange views and insight with her on these developments, particularly on protecting the services industry.
Paul Scully, the Conservative party’s vice-chair with responsibility for the London region, co-chaired a dinner bringing together a number of Conservative politicians with members building homes in London. The discussion was wide-ranging, but everyone was united in agreement that much more needs to be done, and that there is a joint role for politicians and the property industry to better articulate the benefits of building more homes. We look forward to continuing to press Government in the autumn to boost investment and deliver the scale of supply our capital desperately needs.
Having just put forward our analysis on funding Crossrail 2, we will be stepping up our call for the Government to commit to its delivery in the Autumn Budget, encouraging stakeholders to join up with us in this call. Business and politicians are united in support for this vital project, and we will continue to make this case over the coming months.
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