By Claire West
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has called on the Government and businesses to help more people find work, as figures show one in three working-age Londoners don't have a job and one in five struggle with skills like reading and maths.
While the London economy is showing signs of recovery, the Mayor is concerned that it will be some time before the labour market fully revives and he wants measures in place now to help Londoners into work.
Today, he published ‘Increasing Employment in London: A Plan for Growth’, which calls on the Government and business groups to ensure that Londoners can access training and employment opportunities as the economy improves. The report found the tax and benefit system does not reward work effectively in London and fragmented services and incoherent targets are also highlighted as key problem areas. Reform of the system must work for London, with its more competitive labour market and higher cost of living.
The capital is a jobs generator, with almost 400,000 new jobs created over the last decade. Unfortunately many Londoners have not shared fully in the benefits of this success. The Mayor’s ambition is to ensure that all Londoners can gain from and drive London’s prosperity, and his overarching aim is to improve skills and close the gap with the UK employment rate to two percentage points by 2014.
Over the past 10 years, the Mayor's London Development Agency has invested significant sums in training and employment programmes in the capital. The Agency has pioneered innovative approaches, such as training to help long-term unemployed into 12 months sustained employment and Payment by Results, which are now being echoed and espoused by the Government. The Mayor is calling on the Government to ensure he has both the powers and the money to continue getting London back into work.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “London is the engine room of the UK economy, where each employee is on average 30 per cent more productive than those elsewhere. We face a huge challenge in getting everyone into work, but we know the rewards are worth it — for individuals, for the economy and for taxpayers.
“The Government is promising a new era of localism. London can build on our successes with investment in a new generation of innovative, local and flexible programmes that meet the needs of Londoners.“
Sir Peter Rogers, Chief Executive of the London Development Agency says: “London is forecast to lead the UK’s economic recovery. We need to make sure Londoners share in the success and that everyone has a chance to drive the city’s prosperity. A skilled work force is key to our competitive edge. In these tough economic times it is essential that we improve life chances and ensure that every Londoner has the support they need to participate in the recovery."
The report highlights the need for a more streamlined, strategic and demand-led approach to skills and employment in London. In line with the coalition government’s devolutionary approach, the Mayor expects to see a progressively reduced role for central government and its agencies as resources and accountability are devolved both to the GLA and to the boroughs.