Gordon Birtwistle, Burnley and Padiham MP, was praised last week in the Autumn Statement debate by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne for his commitment to apprenticeships in his role as Government Apprenticeship Ambassador.
In the Autumn statement, the Chancellor made a series of positive announcements including abolishing employers’ NI contributions for young apprentices up to the age of 25.
Speaking in the House of Commons, the Burnley MP said:
“I congratulate the Chancellor on his plan to reduce the job tax on apprentices up to the age of 25. The country is obviously on the rise and manufacturing industry is booming, but we have a big problem with skills shortages. I am sure this measure will go a long, long way towards training young people to do the jobs of the future that this country will desperately need.”
The Chancellor responded commenting on the hard work Gordon dedicates to apprenticeships, reporting to members of the Cabinet and the commitment he has made in Burnley to them:
“My hon. Friend has been a consistent champion of apprentices in Burnley and of the apprenticeship policy. He sends me and other colleagues in the Government a regular report of what is going on in Burnley and what more we can do to support apprentices. I am careful to make sure that I read that report each time it comes in. It is partly because people like him have been raising this issue with us that we have taken the big decision today to abolish the job tax when it comes to employing young apprentices. It is a major step forward in supporting apprentices and I think it will open the path to having 3 million apprentices in the next Parliament.”
Birtwistle, Government Apprenticeship Ambassador and chair of the liberal democrat committee on Business, Innovation and Skills, has been working hard to increase awareness and promote the value of apprenticeships across the country which is working as 2 million apprenticeships have been created since 2010.
“I was very pleased to listen to the announcements made by the Chancellor yesterday," Gordon said, "Abolishing the jobs tax on young apprentices will make it easier for companies, especially smaller SMEs in the supply chains, to take on young people and train them.
“We are still suffering from a large skills shortage in this country so I am working hard with Coalition colleagues to close the gap, especially in the manufacturing industry which is on the up; growing faster than any other major advancing economy. This is great news for Burnley, a largely manufacturing town as it will increase jobs and productivity in the area.”
The chancellor made a number of further announcements including £15bn investment in England’s roads, delivering a £820 tax cut as personal allowance is increased to £10,600, cutting stamp duty to help first time buyers and investing in mental health and eating disorders.