Outgoing skills minister David Lammy has insisted that he leaves with the UK on course to hit the ambitious skills targets set out in the Leitch review.
Lammy was promoted to become minister for higher education and intellectual property in last week’s cabinet reshuffle. He will be replaced by former trade union chief Lord Tony Young of Norwood Green.
At a final grilling in his skills role from MPs on the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Select Committee yesterday, Lammy said: “As I leave this post, I think the UK will hit the Leitch targets.”
Lord Sandy Leitch warned in December 2006 that the UK faced a bleak economic future unless it ramped up the skill levels of its working population.
Lammy said although it was early days, the UK was on target to achieve those aims. However, he did accept that the skills system needs to be simplified, and that the government needs to take a fleixble approach as the economic squeeze hit employers’ training budgets.
“In the global downturn, we want to make sure that the taxpayers’ money we have is there, should people be laid off and need reskilling,” he said.
Lammy denied that his time in office had been “a plethora of reports and no real urgency” as suggested to him, and insisted real progress had been made at upskilling the UK population.