Earlier today, Shadow Employment Minister, the Rt. Hon Stephen Timms MP, joined West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper to discuss employment challenges with local employers and training providers.
The roundtable discussion was an opportunity for local companies and organisations from manufacturing, legal services, education and social enterprise to make their views known on a range of issues such as, apprenticeships, training, access to the job market, and the Government's Work Programme.
Rosie and Stephen were joined by representatives from Cleanbake, Scott Rees & Co., UBH International, West Lancashire College and West Lancashire Community Recycling.
Speaking after the event, Stephen said:
"It is clear from speaking to local businesses, social enterprises and training providers there is a real desire and ambition to grow. There is an enthusiasm to want to develop their businesses, offer solutions to the challenges of youth unemployment and provide job opportunities for older people still needing and wanting to work. As Shadow Employment Minister it is important to me to understand the types of help and support these organisations need to thrive.
"I take a great deal from visiting places like West Lancashire, it helps how we as the Labour Party shape our policies for the benefit of local economies. It also highlights how the Conservative-led Government needs to drastically improve what it is doing to strengthen our businesses and increase job opportunities. Holding them to account and challenging them to be better is a vital part of my work.
"Thank you to Rosie for inviting me to visit West Lancashire and to meet her local employment and business champions. I know she works closely with local organisations and she is equally as determined for their success and ambitions to be achieved.”
Rosie Cooper MP added:
"We all know these are tough times economically. There is a great deal of instability and uncertainty for those looking for jobs and even those with jobs, wondering if the company will stay open.
"We have some fantastic companies here in West Lancashire that offer high quality products and who are at the forefront of their industries. We must support these companies to ensure they thrive and continue to provide job opportunities locally. In order to do so it is important that people looking for a job have the right skills and experience.
"I am very grateful to Stephen for visiting us here in West Lancashire. He listened to what everyone around the table had to say and discussed their ideas on what we need to do to improve support for businesses, employment opportunities and how to overcome the barriers of getting work.
"Whilst there is a lot of focus on building the city economies of London, Liverpool and Manchester, we cannot ignore places like West Lancashire. There is a lot of good work happening here and it needs to be encouraged and nurtured just as much as our cities."