Members of the Lords debated the importance of sustainable jobs to the UK economy yesterday (Thursday 6 June).
Baroness Brinton (Liberal Democrat) began the debate, focusing on the need to rebalance the economy, and outlining how sustainable jobs are key to achieving this target. She spoke about how the right skills in the workplace are critical to sustainable jobs, saying: ‘Courses, particularly in science, technology, engineering and maths, at further and higher education levels, must be promoted and supported, particularly for these critical technician jobs. Core skills in literacy, numeracy and ICT must be strengthened, and it should not be possible to drop either literacy or numeracy at 16.’
Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope (Liberal Democrat), spoke about social enterprises, and the contribution they can make to the economy. He also expressed concern about the ‘stigmatisation of the unemployed’, and how people can ‘go into a world of work that is full of uncertainty.’
Lord Wood of Anfield (Labour) spoke about his concerns around youth unemployment, he suggested 'a compulsory jobs guarantee to get the young unemployed into work and to get the long-term unemployed into jobs.'
Lord Newby (Liberal Democrat) responded on behalf of the government, outlining plans for growth and the creation of new jobs. He spoke about new government incentives for people to enter paid work, saying: ‘Participation in the labour market is now around its highest rate for 20 years and is in stark contrast to previous recessions.’ He also suggested the need to engage more with employers, to ensure they think about long-term implications for employees of their decisions.