Press Release: Simon Fell welcomes inclusion of Furness Line upgrade in Government’s £48 billion rail improvement programme

Simon Fell has welcomed the announcement from the Transport Secretary that the Furness Line is to be included in the largest rail modernisation programme since the Victorian times.

The Transport Secretary confirmed that commuters in Barrow and Furness were to benefit while giving evidence to the Transport Select Committee in Parliament on Wednesday.

Grant Shapps confirmed the government’s commitment to upgrading capacity on the Cumbrian Coast, which will transform local rail services.

The Conservative Government are currently investing a record £48 billion in the nation’s railways – improving reliability and punctuality, upgrading trains and allowing passengers to benefit from quicker, more comfortable journeys.

Commenting, Simon Fell said:

“I am delighted that the Conservatives are prioritising the Furness Line and Cumbrian Coast as part of our plans to upgrade the nations’ railways – this will significantly improve rail services for local people and make a real difference to Furness.

“I have been lobbying hard for the Transport Secretary to prioritise our railways and spoke to him only lat week on the issue. Fast, reliable trains are vital, not just for boosting local growth, but to making areas like ours attractive places to live and start a business.

“For too long we’ve been held back due to poor transport infrastructure. This levelling up of our infrastructure is the start of what I hope will be a major programme of investment in Barrow & Furness’ road and rail capacity. I’m grateful for the Government’s support of Barrow & Furness.”


Press Release: A welcome funding boost for every school in Barrow & Furness

Simon Fell welcomes funding boost for every school in Barrow & Furness

More children across Barrow & Furness will be able to have a great education thanks to a major funding boost.

The Conservative Government has confirmed schools in Cumbria will receive 5.25% more funding per pupil next year as part of the recent multi-billion investment in primary and secondary education.

Simon Fell has welcomed this new funding, saying the commitment that every secondary school pupil will receive a minimum of £5,000 next year and every primary school pupil will receive a minimum of £4,000 by 2021-22 would reassure parents of the Government’s promise to deliver the best for their children.

This funding follows the Prime Minister’s announcement in August that the budget for schools and high needs would be increased by a total of over £14 billion over three years, rising to £52.2 billion by 2022-23. Schools and local authorities will today find out how the first part of that investment - £2.6 billion - will be allocated for the coming year.

The extra money, available from April, will ensure that per-pupil funding for all schools can rise at least in line with inflation and will deliver promised gains in full for areas which have been historically under-funded

Commenting, Simon Fell said:

‘Every child in Barrow & Furness deserves the best possible start in life – regardless of their background or where they live.

‘The 5.25% per pupil funding boost next year will mean that every school in Barrow & Furness will receive a budget increase, giving teachers, parents and pupils the certainty to plan, and supercharging standards in our schools.

‘This new funding will also target those schools who need support the most need, making sure that every parent in Barrow & Furness can be sure their children are getting a great education.’


Simon welcomes Boris’ pledge to keep Barrow jobs

Boris Johnson’s backing to Barrow’s submarine programme has been welcomed as great news for the region, guaranteeing work for thousands of local residents.

Simon Fell, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Barrow and Furness said he was delighted the new Prime Minister has already pledged his support for the Dreadnought programme, which he called a ‘vital national asset’.

Simon said:

“I’m delighted that the Prime Minister has recognised how important it is to maintain a Continuous at Sea Deterrent and the vital important role every single worker at Barrow’s famous shipyards play in this.

“As he said in the Commons, the real threat to this deterrent and these livelihoods would be a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour party in charge at Number 10. All Barrovians know that lifelong CND member Jeremy Corbyn does not support Barrow’s proud history of boat-building. He is a threat to livelihoods across Furness.

“Mr Johnson has only been in place for a few days, but he has already pledged a host of measures to get our country back on the road to a brighter future, including getting Brexit done by 31 October , with a great new deal for Britain.

 “He has also promised to hire 20,000 new police officers across the country, more investment in the NHS and schools, all pledges which I believe will benefit and will be welcomed by everyone across Barrow and Furness and the whole of Cumbria, as well as the country.”

Barrow in Furness announced as Historic High Streets Action Zone winner

Simon Fell, Conservative Candidate for Barrow and Furness, today praised the Government and Historic England for selecting Barrow and Furness as one of 69 historic towns which will share £95m to give high streets a new lease of life. 

Speaking from Ulverston, Simon said:

“A vibrant high street brings a community together. But many of them struggle against out-of-town retail parks, or online businesses, leading local businesses and independent retailers to close and the sad sight of empty shops. 

“Dalton Road is a perfect example of this, and I’m hopeful that this new funding will go some way towards restoring Barrow town centre and Duke Street in particular.

“This funding is on top of the the £1billion Future High Streets Fund which Barrow is shortlisted for, and which I am very hopeful we will be successful in. 

“This is an exciting time for Barrow’s high street and I’m delighted that the Government and Historic England are backing it.” 

The £95 million will create 69 new High Street Heritage Action Zones overseen by Historic England. The selected projects will now work with Historic England to develop plans to revive their high street over a four year programme.

Working with local councils and communities, Historic England will deliver physical improvements and cultural activities to regenerate these high streets and restore local historic character.

The initiative will be funded by combining £40 million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund with £52 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund. £3 million will be provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme to engage people in the life and history of their high streets.

The scheme will provide support for historic high streets and the communities who use them so they can adapt to the challenges they face. Through the programme, councils, businesses and community groups will be able to access expert advice and investment to bring historic buildings back to life

Disused or underused buildings will be transformed into creative spaces, offices, shops and housing. This revival will become the catalyst for wider regeneration, with heritage and local character at its heart.

Communities Secretary of State Robert Jenrick said:

“I want to make sure the nation’s high streets continue to be at the heart of local communities. Today’s funding, part of the £3.6 billion we have committed to helping towns across the country, will revitalise much-loved historic buildings, helping to reverse the decline of our town centres. Ensuring that prosperity and opportunities are available to everyone in this country, not just those in our biggest cities, is a priority of this Government in our mission to ‘level up’ the regions.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, said:

“We are doubling funding to nearly £100 million to revitalise our heritage high streets, ensuring they remain at the heart of our communities for years to come. This will help places across the country - from South Norwood to Scarborough - protect their treasured historic buildings and support local economies to thrive.“

Historic England’s Chief Executive, Duncan Wilson said:

“Our high streets are the beating hearts of our communities. Many have roots that go back hundreds of years. Their historic buildings and distinctive character tell the story of how our towns and cities have changed over time. They are places where people come together to socialise, shop, run businesses and be part of their local community, but now they face an uncertain future.

“Through physical improvements and cultural activities, we will work with partners to find new ways to regenerate our high streets. It is a challenge, but with our experience and track record, as well as the knowledge and passion of local councils, businesses and community groups our historic high streets can be thriving social hubs once more.”

The employment rate has never been higher in Barrow & Furness

Official ONS figures show that in the North West, there are now  3,480,365 people in work – meaning that, under the Conservatives, 301,391 more people have been able to access the security of a job. 

The figures show that there are more people with a full-time job than ever before and that the employment rate is at a joint record high.

And with wages rising at their fastest pace in more than 11 years – ahead of inflation for 18 months in a row – people’s pay packets are going further.

In Barrow and Furness, the number of people who are claiming key out-of-work benefits has fallen by 607 since 2010 – an overall reduction of 31 per cent.

These figures show the underlying strengths of our economy – with millions of people benefitting from a sustained boost in pay and access to a regular paycheque.

Boris Johnson and the Conservatives will ensure our economy continues to grow so that we can fund our vital public services – including 20,000 more police officers, more funding for schools and making sure people see more investment in the front line of our NHS.

Commenting from his family home in Ulverston, Simon Fell - the Conservatives’ candidate to be our next MP - has welcomed these figures, saying:

 “These figures show that Boris Johnson and the Conservatives are providing a solid foundation on which to build Britain’s economic future.

 “Families across the country are benefitting from a sustained boost in their wages. And with a record number of people in full-time work, we are giving more households the security of a regular wage.

 “Labour mean more dither and delay on Brexit, whilst their economic plans would wreck the economy – leaving us with more debt, higher taxes and fewer jobs, hurting the people they claim to help the most.”

 Jesse Norman, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: 

 “These are another remarkable set of jobs figures. Wages are now rising at an average of 4% and faster than prices, meaning people’s pay can go further.

 “With more people than ever before in full-time jobs and long-term unemployment halving, more people have the security of a regular wage and can provide for their families.

 “Boris Johnson and the Conservatives will continue to ensure the fundamentals of our economy are strong. Labour would wreck our economy and put people’s livelihoods at risk.”

Simon Fell praises long-term investment pledge to the NHS

Simon Fell, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Barrow and Furness, has hit back at claims the NHS in Barrow and Furness is not being backed by the Government.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has recently announced an extra £1.8bn for the NHS on top of the £33.9bn committed for the service in 2023-24.

Barrow and Furness has recently seen big investment into the NHS locally with £12m for the Alfred Barrow Health Centre, and another £12m for the birthing centre at the Furness General Hospital.

Speaking from Ulverston, Simon said:

“I am very pleased to see extra investment being put into the NHS both locally and nationally.

“This Conservative Government has pledged to continue to invest in the NHS at record levels. Locally we are already seeing the effects with the Alfred Barrow Health Centre nearing completion, and with the new birthing centre at the Furness General Hospital.

“But I am keen to push for more investment and the qualified medical professionals we need to ensure that Furness is well served, both now and in the future.

“It’s time for Corbyn’s Labour Party to stop treating the NHS as a political football and instead have an honest conversation with local people about the services they need in our local NHS.

“I want to hear what the people of Barrow and Furness view as their healthcare priorities. I will shortly be sending out a survey so I can present the Prime Minister and Health Secretary with an honest account of local people’s views and make an informed case for long-term investment in Furness’ healthcare system.

“The NHS was created to provide healthcare that’s free at the point of use for every single person. Our investment means we can fulfil that promise for our children and grandchildren.”

Simon Fell selected as Conservative candidate for Barrow & Furness

At a special meeting of the Barrow and Furness Conservative Association at the Drill Hall last night, Simon Fell was overwhelmingly selected as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Barrow and Furness. 

Mr Fell is Chairman of the Barrow and District Credit Union and a director of fraud prevention agency, Cifas. He is married to Pippa and has a 3-year-old daughter, Peg ,with another on the way. Since 2015, Mr Fell has reduced the Labour majority in Barrow to just 209 votes.

Speaking after the selection, Simon said:

I’m delighted by the result tonight. For too long Barrow and Furness has been denied a strong voice representing it in Westminster. Furness needs an MP who will work constructively with the government to deliver the changes we so badly need in our road, rail and broadband networks, who can secure the funding we need for our vital public services, and who will champion the world-class industry in our area.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party offers nothing for Barrow except uncertainty. He wants to shutter our largest employer and will decimate our local economy and public services by doing so.

I’m looking forward to finishing the job we started 5 years ago and turning Barrow blue once again. 

Speaking after the selection, Chair of Barrow and Furness Conservatives, Andrew Butcher, said:

Local Conservatives overwhelmingly voted for Simon. This is absolutely the right result. He is passionate about the area that his family have lived in for generations and has a positive vision for what Barrow and Furness can become. I look forward to seeing him elected in due course.

Simon Fell welcomes new support for tourism businesses in Barrow and Furness

Simon Fell, Conservative Spokesman for Barrow and Furness, has welcomed the launch of the new Tourism Sector Deal, which will benefit the 455 tourism-related businesses based in Barrow and Furness.

The tourism, hospitality and experience industries play a vital role in boosting our local economy in Barrow and Furness. These businesses will now be able to access a new tourism data hub, enabling them to offer an even better service for their visitors. 

The Deal – part of the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy – will help deliver 10,000 new apprenticeships, getting more people involved with the sector and ensuring it continues to go from strength to strength in the future.

The tourism sector is worth £68 billion every year to the UK economy, and employs 1.6 million people across the country. As we leave the EU, we are determined to support the industry and help it to grow. By 2025, there will be 9 million additional visits from people overseas to the UK. 

Under the new deal, more than 10,000 people who work in the tourism industry will also benefit from new mentorship schemes, while we’re providing a further £250,000 to improve broadband connectivity in a number of conference centres across the country. 

Commenting, Simon Fell said:

“Tourism is a hugely important to Barrow and Furness, and I am delighted that the 445 tourism-related businesses here will now be able to receive additional support, through our modern Industrial Strategy. 

“I hope that they are able to use the opportunities of the Sector Deal to attract even more people to the local area, boosting their businesses and creating more jobs. Barrow and Furness is a fantastic, diverse place with outstanding museums, historic attractions and wildlife – the more people we can let know about the hidden gem of Cumbria, the better.

“I’m proud that so many people want to visit Barrow and Furness every year, and hope that this deal will help us see even higher visitor numbers.”

Victory for A595 campaign!

Simon Fell, Conservative Spokesman for Barrow and Furness, has welcomed today’s announcement by the Transport Secretary that work will begin to build a bypass at Grizebeck, providing relief for locals and commuters alike.

At Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced the first five upgrades to the Major Road Network. One of these is at “the infamous farmyard bottleneck’ at Grizebeck.

Speaking at the Conference, Simon Fell said:

“I’m glad that after years of campaigning on this issue, the Government has pledged action to fix the A595. I would like to pay tribute to the hard work of many who have doggedly campaigned on this issue.

“It beggars belief that one of the main roads in our area runs through a farmyard and I look forward to this dangerous bottleneck being removed.

“I took Chris Grayling to Grizebeck with Trudy Harrison last year to see the bottleneck for himself. He was staggered by what he saw, and I’m very glad that his warm words are being translated into action.”

Labour’s not-so-secret plan to scrap Trident

At Labour Party Conference in Liverpool on Monday, Senior Labour MP Fabian Hamilton laid bare his plans for the Dreadnought programme and Barrow’s shipyard.

Speaking at a CND fringe meeting, Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Minister for Peace’ said that he and Jeremy Corbyn want to scrap Trident and begin a ‘defence diversification’ programme that would see shipyard workers retrained to work in other sectors.

Simon Fell, the Conservative Party Spokesman for Barrow and Furness said:

“This deeply worrying and entirely naive policy would decimate Barrow and the surrounding areas.

“Labour have gone back to the 70s. This pie-in-the-sky idea would lead to highly-skilled workers leaving our area and a generation of talent lost.

“It’s not just the Yard that would be hit, but also the wider supply chain, apprenticeship programmes, and retailers. It would also be harder still to make the case for further investment in our schools, Furness General, roads and rail network with such a major employer brought to its knees by Jeremy Corbyn’s reckless Labour Party.

“It’s time for Jeremy Corbyn and his ‘Minister for Peace’ to think again so that these dangerous ideas are never allowed to rip the heart out of our town.”

Statement on John Woodcock's resignation from the Labour Party

On Wednesday 18th July 2018, John Zak Woodcock MP resigned the Labour Party whip. Barrow and Furness is now represented by an independent MP.

Commenting, Simon Fell, Conservative Spokesman for Barrow and Furness, said:

“I was saddened to read John’s resignation letter and have laid bare the absolute mess that the current Labour party is in.

“We now have an MP with zero influence either with the government or the opposition - a sorry state of affairs. Similarly, John’s actions have only highlighted that Labour are also divided and in chaos locally.

“John admitted himself that he was elected on a wafer-thin margin on the back of Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity last year. His actions now clearly break that trust.

“I’m glad that John has now stated that he will seek to support the government, especially as we now face the critical task of honouring the wishes of the 60% of Barrovians’ who voted to leave the EU.

“The hard-left Labour Party is a risk to Barrow’s prosperity. We can’t trust them with Barrow’s future, or our country's economy.”

Simon Fell welcomes latest jobs figures in Barrow & Furness

Figures out today show that the number of people in work is at a record high. In Barrow and Furness, the number of people who are unemployed has fallen by 652 – a 37% per cent drop – since 2010.

Employment has increased in the North West with 3,435,016 people in work – an increase of 256,016 more people in work since 2010.

Simon Fell has welcomed the new figures, which show that unemployment is at its lowest since 1975 and that the number of young people out of work has fallen by over 415,000 under the Conservatives. 

Conservative Spokesman for Barrow & Furness, Simon Fell said:

“Under the Conservatives, a record number of people are now in work and the unemployment rate has reached its lowest level in over 40 years. And with wages rising faster than prices, pay packets are going further.

“That means that more people than ever in Barrow and Furness have the security of a job and can provide for their families. There is more to do to deliver more jobs and higher salaries, and our welfare reforms and modern Industrial Strategy aim to do exactly that. Labour would put all this at risk.

“Only the Conservatives will continue to take the balanced approach our economy needs to support businesses to create better, higher paying jobs, ensuring a better future for Britain.”

Simon Fell welcomes latest construction figures

Simon Fell welcomes latest construction figures

Figures out today have revealed that the value of all work in the Construction industry has increased by 7 per cent since 2016-17, meaning more higher-paying jobs, better infrastructure and a growing economy.

The value of new housing work has increased by 13 per cent, as the Government is delivering more homes for people across the country.

The figures are a welcome boost in the North West where the value of new housing output has increased by 241.8% since 2009-2010 and the value of overall construction output has increased by 50.6%.

Simon Fell, Conservative Spokesman for Barrow and Furness, welcomed the figures, which show that the value of construction output in the North West was £4172.5m in the first quarter of 2018.

Commenting, Simon Fell said:

“This is welcome news, but there’s more to do to build a stronger economy with better, higher-paying jobs.  That’s why, through our new Construction Sector Deal and our modern Industrial Strategy, the Conservative Government is working to recruit and train the next generation of high-skilled construction workers in Barrow & Furness. 

“The construction industry makes a vital contribution to our economy, which is why we need to ensure that we have the skills we need to deliver homes, schools and other buildings across Barrow and Furness and build a country fit for the future. One only needs to look at the exciting work at Barrow Waterfront to see how construction is changing our town for the better.”

This follows a recent Government announcement of a new £420 million joint government-industry Construction Sector Deal to transform the industry, supported by the biggest government investment in construction for at least a decade.

Simon Fell welcomes £200 million deal for new nuclear

This deal is a welcome boost for the 261 jobs in the civil nuclear sector in Barrow & Furness and over 14,000 jobs in the local area. 

Simon Fell, Conservative Spokesman for Barrow and Furness, welcomed the £200 million deal announced by the Business Secretary, securing the future of the Civil Nuclear industry in the UK and driving down energy costs for customers. 

Nuclear energy has been powering the UK for over 60 years, with a world-leading record for safety, and today generates around 20 per cent of our electricity.  

The civil nuclear industry employs 65,000 people across the country, however currently only 22 per cent of the workforce are women.  

This deal will deliver up to 100,000 jobs overall in nuclear by 2021 and diversify the workforce, with a target of 40 per cent women working in the nuclear sector by 2030

Commenting, Simon Fell said:

“Nuclear energy doesn’t just keep the lights on, it fuels local jobs, wages, economic prosperity and drives UK innovation. 

“I want to build on our strengths and the vital contribution that the industry makes in Barrow and Furness, up the road in Copeland, and across the country, to make sure that the UK continues to be at the forefront of nuclear industry in the future.  

“This deal, and the investment, will drive innovation, create jobs and boost the economy across the country and crucially drive down energy prices for consumers.”

Simon Fell welcomes £394 million a week for the NHS

Simon Fell, Conservative Spokesman for Barrow and Furness, has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement of an additional £20.5 billion a year for the NHS.

In a speech last week, Theresa May outlined our plans to develop a long term plan for the future of the health service, underpinned by an offer which will see the NHS budget increase by £20.5 billion in real terms by 2023-24. 

This equates to nearly £394 million a week by 2023-24, and will support the NHS to make the right decisions for the long-term, setting it on a sustainable path to continue delivering world class care. 

In return for this investment, the Government will ask NHS leaders to produce a new ten-year plan, led by clinicians and professionals, and supported by local health and care systems across the country. The plan will set out a long-term vision for the health service and ensure every penny is well spent, while waste and inefficiencies are reduced. 

Some of the extra funding will come from money we no longer spend on our annual membership subscription to the European Union, and taxpayers will be asked to contribute a bit more for the NHS in a fair and balanced way.

The funding will result in average annual increases of 3.4 per cent for the NHS, significantly higher than Labour’s offer of 2.2%, which they said would ‘restore the NHS to be the envy of the world’.

Commenting, Simon Fell said: 

“The NHS has been there for us whenever we need it for 70 years, and this historic funding announcement is a fitting birthday present for our world-renowned health service. 

“This additional £20.5 billion will benefit services up and down the country, including Furness General. The provision of a multi-year funding settlement gives the NHS the opportunity and certainty to develop a long-term plan for areas including staffing, prevention, and technology.

A long-term plan will ensure the NHS is fit to support us for the next 70 years and beyond. It will be led by professionals, with input from the public and patients, and set out a sustainable and efficient vision for our health service.”

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

“No one in this country underestimates the importance of putting the NHS on a steady financial footing, which is why I am proud to announce our commitment to a long-term funding settlement for the NHS.

“People will, rightly, want to know that every pound being invested into the NHS budget will be spent wisely. It is therefore critical that the whole NHS improves productivity and efficiency as part of this plan. In its 70th year, we want our NHS to make strides towards being the safest, highest-quality healthcare system in the world.” 

Simon Fell welcomes support for construction

Recent figures show that the latest wages in the Construction industry are £92 a week higher than they were in May 2010.  


These figures are a welcome boost for the 1,500 plumbers, joiners and builders across Barrow and Furness.  


Simon Fell, Conservative Spokesman for Barrow & Furness, welcomed the figures, which show that weekly earnings went up by 4.5 per cent over the last year – nearly double the rate prices are increasing. 


Commenting, Simon Fell said:


‘This is welcome news, but there’s more to do.  That’s why, through our modern Industrial Strategy, we’re working to recruit and train the next generation of high-skilled construction workers.  


‘The construction industry makes a vital contribution to our economy, which is why we need to ensure that we have the skills we need to deliver housing across the country and build a country fit for the future.’



  • Investing in a Transforming Construction programme.  Supported by £170 million of government investment over three years through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, and £250 million of match funding from industry, the deal will bring together the construction, manufacturing, energy and digital sectors in a new hub to commercialise technologies capable of building assets which are both cost effective and energy efficient.


  • Launching a modern Industrial Strategy to secure our future as a competitive, global nation creating better higher-paying jobs.  The modern Industrial Strategy will build on Britain’s strengths, extend excellence into the future, make the country one of the most competitive places in the world to start and grow a business, and close the productivity and wealth gap between different regions – so we can create a country that works for everyone.


  • Launching a Construction Sector Deal.  As part of our modern Industrial Strategy, we’re launching a transformative Sector Deal will help modernise the industry and recruit and train the next generation of high-skilled construction workers.  The deal that could add billions of pounds in value to the UK economy through delivering better homes and infrastructure.  


Number of Construction workers by constituency


Source: NOMIS, Employee Jobs: Construction, accessed 22 May 2018, link.

Simon Fell Celebrates National Apprenticeship Week

This National Apprenticeship Week, Simon Fell, Conservative Spokesman for Barrow and Furness, is celebrating the vital contribution of apprentices in Barrow & Furness.

Since 2010 there have been 8930 apprenticeship starts in Barrow & Furness and over 1.2 million new apprenticeship starts nationally since 2015. Take up of higher-level apprenticeships in 2016-17 was up by nearly 35 per cent compared to 2015 -16. In Barrow and Furness there were 1,280 apprenticeship starts in 2016-17 alone.

Apprenticeships are at the heart of the Conservative Government’s strategy to expand opportunity and develop the skilled workforce the country needs. This includes working with industry to deliver an ambitious target of 3 million new apprenticeship starts by 2020.

But we know there is still more to do, which is why we recently launched an education and funding review that will help people make more effective choices between the different options available to them, promoting parity of esteem between technical and academic pathways.

Commenting, Simon Fell said: ‘Apprenticeships allow people to earn while they learn, and open doors to highly skilled, rewarding careers.

This Government’s reforms are not only increasing apprenticeship numbers, but also driving up the quality of apprenticeships, meaning they have real value in the jobs market.

This is vital for Barrow & Furness, as it ensures that people have an opportunity to gain the skills they need to work in our world-class employers and remain in our area.

Only the Conservatives are working hard to ensure everyone can get on in life, and go as far as their talents and hard work can take them.



  •          There have been over 1.2 million new apprenticeship starts since May 2015, and the take up of higher-level apprenticeships in 2016-17 was up by nearly 35 per cent compared to 2015 -16 (Hansard, 1 February 2018, WA, linkHansard, 10 January 2018, WA, link).
  •          The Government has set an ambitious target to deliver 3 million new apprenticeship starts by 2020, from May 2015. The Government’s strategy for achieving this is outlined in English Apprenticeships: Our 2020 Vision (English Apprenticeships: Our 2020 Vision, accessed 5 March 2018, link).
  •          Between 2010 and 2015, the Government created 2.38 million apprenticeships, which is more than double the number created by Labour in their last term. Between 2005-06 and 2009-10, there were 1,103,800 new apprenticeship starts (BIS, FE data library: apprenticeships, 11 September 2015, linkBIS Press Release, 14 October 2015, link).
  •          Employer-led apprenticeship reforms continue to improve the quality of apprenticeships. Supported by the Institute for Apprenticeships, employers are designing new, high quality apprenticeship standards to ensure apprenticeships are more responsive to their needs (Institute for Apprenticeships, accessed 5 March 2018, link). 
  •          Apprenticeships are at the heart of Government’s broader skills agenda, and will sit alongside ‘T levels’ within a reformed vocational training system. T-Levels are technical qualifications which will be as rigorous and respected as A-Levels. They are being developed in partnership with industry professionals from companies including Rolls Royce, Fuijitsu and EDF to ensure they have real credibility (DfE, 11 October 2017, link). 
  •          Under Labour, at least 350,000 young people were let down by courses which had ‘little or no labour market value’. In 2011, the independent Wolf Review found that ‘the staple offer for between a quarter and a third of the post-16 cohort’ was ‘a diet of low-level vocational qualifications, most of which have little to no labour market value’ (DfE, Review of Vocational Education – The Wolf Report, 3 March 2011, link).

         This National Apprenticeship Week runs from 5 – 9 March, and is marked by events celebrating apprentices and encouraging more people and businesses to get involved. The theme of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week is ‘Apprenticeships Work’ (ESFA, 5 March 2018, link).