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Campaigning for more jobs and apprentices

July 15, 2013

Bill Clinton had a slogan in his Presidential campaign headquarters – “It’s the economy, stupid!” What was true 21 years ago in the US has even more validity in Britain today. I never miss an opportunity to talk up Bristol as England’s most prosperous city region, a powerhouse of entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.

Prosperity means jobs.  Across the country over 1 million new jobs have been created since 2010. Unemployment has been falling steadily in Bristol for the last year and the number of people in work is at an all time high.  Our city is a centre of excellence for aerospace, digital media and professional services.  Those sectors are complemented by two universities that excel in research and technical training.  A great example would be the Robotics Centre, run jointly by Bristol University and UWE.

Government is contributing to the growing Bristol economy by some targeted investment in the region.  Vince Cable often mentions the National Composites Centre, which he opened in 2011, where there is the combination of research and innovation necessary to keep Britain a world leader in aerospace.  The centre is modelled on the German “catapults” that have kept Germany ahead of the rest of Europe in manufacturing.  As Secretary of State for Business, Vince is reviewing each sector of the economy and making sure government is a facilitator not an obstruction to growth.

The German lead in manufacturing is not just down to their technical innovation.  They also have a highly skilled workforce.  Britain is now catching up, with a massive expansion in the number of apprentices.  Over the last year I have been visiting a variety of Bristol businesses in order to meet their apprentices. These have included world leading large companies such as Rolls Royce as well as smaller businesses in the aerospace supply chain.

An apprenticeship is a great way to acquire a well regarded qualification.  Not every young person has achieved the good grounding at school or college to start an apprenticeship.  Charities such as the Prince’s Trust can get people on to the right path.  The government is going to help soon as Vince wants to push “traineeships” as a bridge to an apprentice place.  Youth unemployment is much lower in Britain than most European countries but I want Bristol to be a city where no young person who can work is left languishing on welfare payments.

So the focus of Liberal Democrats in government is on growing a stronger economy and a fairer society where everyone can get on in life.  I wish our coalition partners would realise that banging on about whether Britain should stay in the EU puts at risk our future prosperity. Bristol and Britain will prosper  only if we remain a strong participant in the world’s largest single market.

 

Note – this article was written for the Bristol Post and published on 12th July 2013.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 15, 2013 3:06 pm

    Stephen
    It is, of course, vital that apprenticeships are portrayed as a credible and vital route for young people and not second best to a degree.
    I still feel that the Government can and should do much more to positively address the academic/vocational divide—–little mention from either DFE or BIS on support for organisations keen to support the agenda of business engagement in education

  2. July 15, 2013 8:32 pm

    Stephen
    How about apprentice brickies, carpenters, joiners, plumbers etc to build 30,000 houses a year like in the 1950/60 as we have a shortage of homes thanks to the E.U. and the policy of letting every one who wants come here, with out any qualification period, if they have children they get social houses that they buy after a period only adding to the shortage of social housing, which Government will have the courage to stop the sale of Council houses ? and start building homes for people NONE as if they did build 20,000 or 30,000 homes the over priced house prices (at present) would drop like a stone.
    As a baby born in the birthplace of the NHS (Park Hospital, Davyhulme) Now called Trafford General How can the Government make claims for the NHS when they are closing down 24hr hospitals and creating ‘Units’
    Come on 2015, problem which will be the best of a bad lot?

    Philip Morris

    • July 22, 2013 8:44 pm

      Philip, not sure you an blame the EU for our housing shortage. There are lots of Brits living in the EU too…what if they all came “home” ?
      The Lib Dems are keen to build more social housing, which saw little investment from 1979 to 2010.

  3. Joe permalink
    July 21, 2013 12:21 pm

    As you are a member of one of the parties in the coalition why don’t you galvanise your colleagues to actually do something about Tory policies and spin rather than telling us in the press that you are unhappy? Your party’s record on supporting Tory policy in the commons is an absolute disgrace and you will be judged on enabling both the privatisation of the NHS and the massive asset stripping currently going on education. Moaning about your coalition partners without any resulting action represents absolutely no one in your constituency – I wonder if you consider the public service you provide as value for money? I certainly don’t.

    • July 22, 2013 8:48 pm

      The NHS has not been privatised. If you think it has, then it’s going to be pretty hard to reason with you!
      There are plenty of differences with our coalition colleagues on tax, civil liberties, energy policy as well as Europe.

    • Ali permalink
      July 24, 2013 12:14 pm

      You say that there are differences in your policies, if this is the case Steven then stick up to them and stop the Torys ripping our public sector services apart. You are paid as an MP to a job I suggest you start doing your job instead of pretending to!

  4. John James permalink
    July 26, 2013 9:10 pm

    I cant help but agree with much of the comment expressed previously. How you can boast about our low unemployment when the figures are very similar to that in Margaret Thatcher’s day. Now there’s a woman who destroyed most of our manufacturing base including apprenticeships, and now you and your partners in crime are boasting about reinstalling apprenticeship availability. I personally experienced the wanton destruction of training facilities of all types during the 80s, purely to enable big business to turn out quick and shoddy goods for a quick profit. I find such action by Governments tipical of the lack of forsight and innability to forsee the consequences of such stupid actions motivated by greed and the scratching of the backs of those who pay the Government’s expenses.
    John James BS5 9PX

  5. Joe permalink
    July 29, 2013 7:21 pm

    Dear Stephen, thanks for your reply. Despite having some excellent experiences of using the NHS your colleague the health secretary keeps telling me how terrible it is and the press seem to be reporting one disaster after the next. Rather than respond to me directly which you clearly don’t wish to do perhaps a blog entry detailing how you feel the NHS is safe in coalition hands may set minds at rest. I do feel that any refusal to address voters concerns about the future of the NHS may make re-election a challenge.

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