JRF response to the industrial strategy

Responding to the trail of the Government's industrial strategy Ashwin Kumar, Chief Economist at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said:

"Improving maths and technical education for young people will certainly benefit the economy in the future. But this is a policy for the long-term. Millions of people already in the work force are struggling with low pay and insecure work. Despite making up only 23% of the economy, low-paid sectors such as retail, care and hospitality account for a third of our productivity gap with leading European economies.

The Government's industrial strategy will only make a real difference to our productivity gap, and to people at risk of being left behind, if it goes beyond manufacturing and high-skilled roles. It needs to help the millions of people who work in low-paid sectors, live in low-skilled areas and work in low-productivity firms. For example, the Government should take urgent action to support people already in the workforce who lack basic literacy, numeracy and digital skills."