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Lizzie Crowley

City Skills Fund - A welcomed injection of cash, but is more local control over skills funding actually needed?

Authors: Lizzie Crowley Lizzie Crowley

10 February 2012


Yesterday the government announced a £4.5 million City Skills Fund to help England’s largest cities and colleges work together to boost the provision of skills needed by employers. Ensuring employers are able to access the right skills is essential for future prosperity; our recent research for NESTA suggests that skills gaps are a key concern for firms with growth potential.

The announcement, which forms part of the City Deals announced late last year, will see each of the core cities receive around £500,000 to address skills priorities across their regions. Government has stated that the City Skills Fund will be used to:

  • Support partnership working and cooperation between LEPs   and core cities working with local colleges and training providers.
  • Develop an agreed set of skills priorities required to meet business needs and to stimulate growth.
  • Set out how the core cities, LEPs, colleges and training providers will work together to implement their priorities and to ensure that employer and individual demand in priority skills areas is realised.

This will come as welcome news to resource strapped cities and LEP’s, many of whom have been pushing this agenda for quite some time through, for example, MAAs and Employer Skills Boards set up under the previous Labour administration.  

However, cities might have been hoping for more. Without more control over the funding arrangements it is unclear how much headway cities will be able to make towards aligning local provision with employer needs.