Tories under fire over £200m apprenticeships pledge

11th September 2017 at 17:20
Shadow minister accuses Conservatives of having 'ducked' questions over pledge to use bank fines to fund apprenticeships

The government has been accused of "shoving money down the Treasury's sofa" after a report found that it was unable to show if it had delivered on its promise to create 50,000 apprenticeships using £200 million in bank fines.

A National Audit Office report into the management of the Libor Fund stated that the Department for Education (DfE) was "unable to demonstrate" whether it had fulfilled the pledge made by the Conservatives in the 2015 general election to use the money to support 50,000 new apprenticeships for unemployed 22- to 24-year-olds.

Citing the report, published last week, Labour's shadow skills minister, Gordon Marsden, today said in the House of Commons: "Eighteen months ago, when I put four parliamentary questions on the issue, ministers ducked and dodged answering.

"So was the £200 million shoved down the Treasury's sofa or just pocketed by DfE? And what's [apprenticeships and skills minister Anne Milton] going to do now the NAO has found the government out?"

'No money down pockets'

Ms Milton denied the claim, and said: "Nobody is shoving money down the pockets of their sofa, not the Treasury or the Department for Education.

"£200 million was given to the department as part of the apprenticeship budget, that was allocated in the spending review in 2015. If [Mr Marsden] would care to listen, he might find out the answer. I am satisfied that the money is being spent on those who need it."

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