Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and London’s councils have urged the government to devolve further powers, as well as funding for skills and employment, to City Hall and the boroughs of the capital.
In a letter sent by the mayor and London Councils to ministers today – endorsed by business leaders and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) – Mr Khan and councillor Georgia Gould, deputy chair of London Councils, said that by taking charge of more elements of the skills and education system, City Hall and London boroughs could deliver programmes in a more streamlined, impactful way.
The adult education budget was devolved in August, with more than £300 million in allocations already devolved to the capital by the Department for Education.
But this morning, Mr Khan will call for devolution to go further, to include more post-16 and non-levy apprenticeship funds.
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This comes as Mr Khan announced a new £6.4 million fund to help Londoners access learning. Attending an event to mark 100 years of adult learning at City Lit, Mr Khan said the fund would help people in the capital gain skills in areas such as English, maths and digital subjects, and enable more disabled Londoners and those who are vulnerable to serious youth violence to access learning.
He said: “London is a global leader in education and skills, and as we approach Brexit, we will need to work with the further education sector to respond quickly to changing skills needs. Our City Hall programmes are already making a huge difference, including to the work of City Lit, whose centenary highlights how empowering learning new skills can be.
“As we take over London’s share of the adult education budget, I’m putting even more money back into the capital and investing in new projects to make sure all Londoners have access to the training and education they need. But more needs to be done, which is why I’m calling on the government for a new funding and devolution deal to make sure we’ve got the powers and resources we need in the face of these challenges.”
‘People-centred systems of support’
Ms Gould said: “London is a city built on the boundless creativity, talent and ambition of the people who live, work and study here. But all too often, Londoners are being held back from unlocking the opportunities generated on their doorsteps by a lack of skills and available training.
“It’s a problem which impacts every area of people’s lives, undermining their wellbeing, trapping them in low pay and stifling career progression. We need to change the way that we approach this challenge by focusing on individuals and creating localised, people-centred systems of support.”
Mark Malcomson, principal and chief executive of City Lit, said: “Today is a landmark moment for City Lit, showcasing 100 years of service to Londoners...Having the mayor outline such a call to action today emphasises the need to establish a culture of lifelong learning in the capital, to make sure London continues to prosper and remains the world-leading, vibrant and welcoming city we have always been.”