Who knows what’s best for UK economy?

Most Labour backbenchers do not trust employers to identify the skills the UK economy needs, according to research.

A Mori survey of 98 Labour MPs, commissioned by Skills for Business, shows that fewer than one in five Labour MPs believe that employers are most suitable for judging the UK’s skills and education needs.

According to CBI estimates, skills shortages are costing UK business an estimated £23bn a year. The employers’ group says the education system is not teaching children the skills businesses need.

But while half of the respondents agreed with these sentiments, the majority do not think employers can judge the skills required.

Mike Campbell, director of research at Skills for Business, said: “This survey shows that many Labour backbenchers appear to be out of touch with the government’s skills policy – which is to put employers centre-stage in creating a demand-led education and training system. 

“This has serious implications for the success of Labour’s drive to improve Britain’s skills base and demonstrates the need for the government to pull together to fulfil its promise to employers in delivering a system designed to equip Britain’s workforce with the skills they need to compete in a 21st century economy.”

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