Chancellor urged to promote digital skills in Spring Statement

Chancellor Philip Hammond should pledge support to tackle the digital skills crisis to drive productivity and recognise the value of data for driving innovation, according to industry experts

by News Reporter on 13 March 2018 07:40

Philip-hammond

The Chancellor is facing calls to reinforce support for tackling Britain’s chronic skills crisis to drive productivity and economic growth in today’s Spring Statement. Industry experts and technology leaders have urged Philip Hammond to endorse the need for more skills training and support for workers, to enable UK businesses to compete in the increasingly competitive digital economy.

Nick Felton, Senior Vice President of MHR Analytics said: “One of the top priorities for the Chancellor has to be addressing the current skills shortage. Businesses are already reporting a lack of workers to fill manual labour jobs and specialist roles such as nurses and this will intensify after the EU-UK freedom of movement ends in March next year. “The positive aspect of the Spring Forecast comes mainly from a response to fiscal and economic forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

This boost is coming from tax revenue being better than estimated and apparently increased productivity of British workers, which will mean a downward revision to borrowing. “More good news is the positive GDP forecast increase, with the last two quarters being the strongest for six years; this will breathe positivity into the economy so that business and organisations continue to pursue their digital transformation programmes. Data the new oil being at the heart of it all.”

Sheila Flavell Chief Operating Officer, FDM Group, said, “Addressing the UK’s skills crisis should be a top priority for the Chancellor, especially as so many businesses are crying out for workers with expertise in areas like digital transformation, analytics and cyber security.

This means giving the next generation access to high quality apprenticeships, training and work experience. And equally as important, ensuring opportunities for life-long learning such as encouraging employers to recognise the experience and significant contribution returners can bring; both male and female. This will ensure we have a workforce fit to ensure the UK remains competitive in the digital economy.”

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