Employment and skills April updates


In this months London Plus bulletin we update you on the latest sector news and announcements, including the National Minimum Wage 20th anniversary, the new Creative Enterprise Zone & £200m fund to tackle youth violence.

We also update you on the London Plus Good Work Commission which recently had its inaugural meeting and began by exploring how we end low pay and improve progression at work. It also debated how to ensure good work-life balance for Londoners, including the idea of a four-day week.

Minimum wage

LPC finds no negative effects on employment from raising the minimum wage

This week saw the 20th anniversary of the National Minimum Wage, which is now £8.21 for those over 25. To mark the occasion, the Low Pay Commission released a report on how the policy has transformed the UK labour market. It has found that last year the lowest-paid workers earned £2.70 per hour more in real terms than if there had been no minimum wage – £5,000 a year for a full-time worker.

It also found 30% of workers have benefited either directly or indirectly from the minimum wage with up to 7 million individuals a year feeling the benefits. And importantly, the LPC has not found significant negative effects on employment from raising the minimum wage.

New review announced into future minimum wages policy

The Spring Statement announced that Professor Arindrajit Dube has been appointed to undertake a review on the latest international evidence on the impacts of minimum wages. His review will have a “particular focus on innovative and ambitious minimum wage models” and “consider the implications for future minimum wage policy in the UK, bearing in mind the aspirations the government set out in Budget 2018, to end low pay in the UK.”

Policy and research news

Big disability employment gap in London

A new report by the London Assembly Economy Committee finds that disabled people in London still fall a long way behind the rest of the workforce in accessing and retaining jobs. Key findings from the ‘Tackling The Disability Employment Gap’ report, include:

  • Only around half of all disabled Londoners are in work.
  • 39% of disabled workers feel they are locked into their current job and would struggle to make a career change.
  • Disabled Londoners of working age are three times less likely to be in work.
  • Many disabled Londoners lack the higher level qualifications to access many of the jobs the capital creates.

Labour Party to ban private firms from outsourcing

The Labour Party have announced plans to ban private companies from running services that deal with vulnerable people and their rights, as part of their aspiration to restrict outsourcing. Their plans will not allow contracts that deal with people deemed to be “at risk”, and contracts that infringe on human rights or entail the use of “coercive powers” to be outsourced. There will be a few exceptions, with the rules not applying to contracts of less than a certain value, for charities, or where it can be shown that “at risk” people are best served by an existing private contractor.

Funding news and opportunities

GLA launches new Creative Enterprise Zone

The GLA has launched the Creative Enterprise Zone: Tottenham Enterprise and Skills Programme. This £500k programme has been developed with Haringey Council to support skills development within the Tottenham Creative Enterprise Zone (CEZ), one of the Mayors recently announced Creative Enterprise Zones. This European Social Fund (ESF) and GLA funded project has two main objectives:

  1. To support employees of businesses in the Tottenham Creative Enterprise Zone to upskill and progress in work.
  2. To help creative businesses and education organisations collaborate on creative training programmes and improve pathways into the industry.

Full details and application forms are available. The closing date for application of 17:00 Friday 17 May 2019.

Youth Futures Foundation launches to fight unemployment with £90m of funding from dormant assets

The government has helped to launch Youth Futures Foundation, a new, independent, not-for-profit organisation that exists to support those young people furthest from the labour market into meaningful employment. It will work to remove the barriers preventing such young people entering the labour market, including addressing the ethnic disparities in levels of youth employment revealed in Government’s Race Disparity Audit. It will work with the public, private and voluntary sectors to support effective approaches and develop evidence about how best to tackle youth unemployment. The initial priority is to develop sufficient governance and operational readiness to take on the £90m of funding from dormant assets later in the year. Distribution of funds will start towards the end of 2019.

Impetus to manage £200m fund designed to help tackle youth violence

The government has appointed charitable foundation Impetus to manage a £200m fund designed to help tackle youth violence. Its Youth Endowment Fund will be delivered over 10 years and support both proven interventions as well as innovative new approaches. The fund will be run by Impetus in partnership with the Early Intervention Foundation and the Social Investment Business. In addition to the £200m injection, Impetus will work with other funders to seek to grow the fund to a potential £300m through donations and investments.

The London Plus Good Work Commission – update

The London Good Work Commission has held its first meeting. The commission, established by London Plus and bringing together 20 leaders, many of whom are drawn from the voluntary sector, began by exploring how we end low pay and improve progression at work. It then debated how to ensure good work-life balance for Londoners, including the idea of a four-day week. Check out the summary of what was discussed in our blog post.

The commission’s work will be heavily informed by the capital’s civil society, and over the coming months, we will be gathering evidence and developing our ideas, which will include hosting London’s first ever Good Work Citizens’ Assembly. If you would like to contribute and help shape our agenda for creating good work for all in the capital, please contact us as we’d love to hear from you.