Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, responds to today's tourism sector deal announcement by the Prime Minister.
“Today’s announcement of the tourism sector deal is a positive step towards tackling some of the challenges faced by our tourism sector and realising its enormous potential.
“As the biggest investors in place, council cultural services, as well as planning, business support, highways and environmental health are fundamental to creating destinations that people want to visit, as well as live in.
“Our new research, published today, highlights the skills challenges facing the tourism industry, particularly for smaller businesses that are crucial to the sector.
“With the tourism and hospitality industry employing more than 3 million people and generating over £126 billion annually, it is important that councils are equipped with the tools to ensure their economies have a skilled workforce.
“Councils are best placed to coordinate skills and employment investment decisions to support local employers and providers and help local people into jobs.
“The Government needs to adopt the LGA’s Work Local approach to enable this and ramp up apprenticeship levy reforms, to ensure activity is aligned with the place and sector-based elements of the industrial strategy.
“We urge DCMS to work closely with the DfE so that the new T levels are introduced rapidly, and that local councils and providers are given the flexibility to target training at particular local skills gaps.
“The new Tourism Zones created by the deal will also allow councils and businesses to come together and pool resources to tackle long-standing issues, including ways to extend the visitor season beyond the summer months.
“Local government plays a crucial role in leading and creating a thriving visitor economy, but it is vital they are properly resourced. With local government facing a funding gap of £8 billion by 2025, it is essential that the forthcoming Spending Review provides councils with the resources to create a successful and thriving tourism and hospitality sector.
“We look forward to working with government and industry to ensure the long-term success of the deal.”
Notes to editors
- Councils in England face an overall funding gap of £8 billion by 2025. The LGA’s #CouncilsCan campaign aims to influence the forthcoming Spending Review and highlight the growing risk to vital local services if the Government does not take action to secure the financial sustainability of councils. Visit our campaign page for more information - https://www.local.gov.uk/spending-review-2019
- The LGA commissioned research in 2019 to show how local leaders can support the visitor economy. The final report, ‘Supplying skills for the visitor economy’, is based on six case studies across England which highlight challenges the tourism and hospitality sectors face in retaining its competitive edge in relation to productivity, recruitment and skills.
In July 2017, the LGA launched Work Local – an ambitious but practical vision for devolved and integrated employment and skills provision.The LGA has put together a series of Skills Taskforce roundtables designed to bring together industry experts and sector representatives with an interest in making our skills and employment system as effective as possible. For more information click here.