Agenda

Venue: Online Meeting via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Michael Popham - Democratic Services Manager  Email: michael.popham@reading.gov.uk

Link: Link to observe meeting

Items
No. Item

1.

Mayor's Announcements

To receive Mayor’s Announcements.

2.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 123 KB

The Mayor to sign the Minutes of the proceedings of the previous Council Meeting.

4.

Petitions

To receive petitions in accordance with Standing Order 8.

5.

Questions from Members of the Public

Questions in accordance with Standing Order 9.

6.

Questions from Councillors pdf icon PDF 229 KB

Questions in accordance with Standing Order 10.

7.

Approval of the Local Council Tax Support Scheme and the Council Tax Base for 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 71 KB

Report by Executive Director of Resources.

Motions

8.

Union Learning Fund

Councillor Leng to move:

 

This Council Notes:

 

        On Tuesday 6 October, the TUC received a letter from the Department for Education saying that ministers have decided to end the Union Learning Fund from March 2021.

 

        The Union Learning Fund [ULF] was set up in 1998 to support trade unions to widen access to learning and training in workplaces for both union members and non-members. The fund supports workplace projects across England, and is coordinated by the TUC.

 

        Each year around 200,000 workers are supported into learning or training with union support through the ULF and the TUC. These learners undertake all sorts of job-relevant learning and training, including basic literacy and numeracy, ICT skills, apprenticeships and traineeships, vocational training, continuing professional development and many other informal and formal courses.

 

        In 2019–20, the ULF was worth £12m. If upheld, this decision will effectively end union-brokered skills training, and will undermine key government skills and retraining priorities at a crucial moment for our economy.

 

This Council Understands That:

 

        Union learning reaches people that other DfE programmes do not reach.

 

        There is an independent evaluation of the Union Learning Fund every two years. It was most recently evaluated by the University of Exeter in 2018. They spoke to 2,459 learners, and found:

 

         Over two-thirds (68 per cent) of learners with no previous qualifications got a qualification.

         47 per cent of those with entry level or level 1 qualifications got a qualification at a higher level.

         Four in five (80 per cent) said they had developed skills that they could transfer to a new job.

         Two in three (62 per cent) said their new skills made them more effective in their current job.

         One in five (19 per cent) said they had been promoted or given increased responsibility and one in 10 (11 per cent) got a pay rise.

 

        The 2018 independent evaluation found that union learning provided excellent value for money:

 

         For every £1 spent on the Union Learning Fund, there is a return of £12.30: £7.60 to the worker, £4.70 to the employer.

         The Union Learning Fund delivers an estimated net contribution to the economy of more than £1.4bn as a result of a boost to jobs, wages and productivity.

         The return to the exchequer (through reduced spending on welfare benefits and other factors resulting from the boost to jobs and wages) is £3.57 for each £1 spent on the Union Learning Fund.

         The £12m government funding levered in an additional £54m from employers, unions and training providers in 2019–20.

 

        The government has said it will put reskilling workers at the heart of its economic recovery plans after the pandemic. In September 2020, the government announced a new fully funded entitlement to achieve a first level 3 qualification, delivered through the National Skills Fund. Union learning is ideally placed to support this aspiration, in three ways:

 

         directly, through delivering relevant level 3 courses to  ...  view the full agenda text for item 8.