'Invest in your workforce' Government tells crisis-hit bosses in South Yorkshire

The Government has urged bosses to invest in their workforce after South Yorkshire Chamber chiefs issued a plea for help to tackle multiple crises that threaten to ‘throttle’ the recovery.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 1:24 pm

A Government spokeswoman said they were committed to an economy where employers no longer relied on labour from abroad.

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They were also working with business to ease ‘particular pinch points’ and had added 5,000 HGV drivers and 5,500 poultry workers to the visa scheme until Christmas.

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The UK is said to be 100,000 lorry drivers short due to Brexit and Covid.

She responded after Chamber bosses said the region was facing a supply chain crisis due to a shortage of drivers, a crisis of unfilled vacancies ‘across many sectors’, a chronic shortage of materials and rising wages and costs.

Andrew Denniff, chief executive of Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber, said the problems were caused by Covid, Brexit, a lack of skills and other factors.

The Government spokeswoman said: “We are committed to building a high-skilled, high-wage economy where employers make long term investments in their workforce instead of relying on labour from abroad. We will continue to help people retrain, build new skills and get back into work to help fill vacancies.

Chamber chiefs, clockwise from top left: Alexis Krachai, Louisa Harrison-Walker, Andrew Denniff and Dan Fell.

“We are closely monitoring labour supply and working with sector leaders to understand how we can best ease particular pinch points and have already added 5,000 HGV drivers and 5,500 poultry workers to the existing visa scheme until Christmas 2021.

“The Government encourages all sectors to make employment more attractive to UK domestic workers through offering training, careers options, wage increases and investment.”

Government support included:

• Over the last month an average of 3,600 young people have started Kickstart jobs each week – giving them the skills, confidence and experience to secure long-term sustainable employment;

• The government is extending its Youth Offer to 2025 and expanding eligibility to include 16 and 17 year-olds in addition to 18-24 year-olds. This provides additional support to unemployed young people on Universal Credit who are searching for work through its Youth Employment Programme, supportive Youth Hubs and specialised employability coaches.

• More young people aged 16-24 and on Universal Credit will be able to benefit from the Kickstart Scheme, which is being extended to March 2022 and will be open to applications from employers and gateways until 17 December 2021.

• A £500 million expansion to the Plan for Jobs aims to ensure workers of all ages have the support they need to get into, and progress, in work.

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.