Cuts to Further Education and skills would be short-sighted and counterproductive, says Eastwood

Following reports that the Department for the Economy needs to make savings of £130m, Alliance Lagan Valley MLA Sorcha Eastwood has said that cuts to skills, further education and higher education would be short-sighted and counterproductive in terms of Northern Ireland’s growth.

Economy Sorcha Eastwood Business

The proposed cuts include ending all age apprenticeships, budget reductions for arms-length bodies, and reduced support for the path to net zero energy strategy.


“If we are to embed a culture of lifelong learning, improve educational underachievement, ensure people can adapt and excel in an ever changing workplace, and get jobs that are fulfilling and rewarding, investment in skills is essential,” said Ms Eastwood.


“For this reason, Alliance is focused on pursuing a prosperity agenda and securing an invest to save package that would transform our public services and the lives of our citizens.


“Last year DfE published a new Skills Strategy, which laid out the work that needs to be done over the next ten years to ensure Northern Ireland becomes one of the world's leading small economies.


“With invaluable access to both the UK and EU markets and the United States willing to invest time and money, Northern Ireland has the potential to strengthen its position, however that will only be the case if we have a stable government and investment to grow.


“Speaking with businesses in Lagan Valley and across Northern Ireland, skills support is one of their top concerns and these cuts will set us back years, at a time when the opportunities are clear.


“They are only achievable however with functioning political institutions, restored on a permanent basis, and with ministerial direction, and we’re faced with yet another reason in an incredibly long list of why it’s imperative that the DUP end their boycott immediately.”