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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > Oct-18 > Skills


Gordon Marsden Labour MP for Blackpool South, Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Further Education and Skills

It’s time for a National Education Service

The skills gap in the UK has grown as we enter a period of Brexit uncertainty. Our traditional solution to filling this gap has been to take skilled labour from outside the UK. But Brexit will make that harder. We must invest now in a far broader workforce.

Consecutive governments have failed to act. Since tuition fees were trebled in 2012, part-time and adult higher education has suffered a 59 per cent drop in England. In Further Education, the adult skills budget was cut by 40 per cent. These cuts have stopped attempts to close the skills gap. It will soon be difficult to build skilled local economies or address our productivity crisis. The government’s latest skills initiative, T-Levels, is mired in controversy.

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In Prospect’s October issue: Rafael Behr argues that politics has been poisoned by Twitter—the platform often drives the political news agenda, encourages people to descend deeper and deeper into echo chambers and sees MPs and their families regularly abused. Meanwhile, former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger explains how Oxford picks its students and says that more needs to be done for the colleges to be more inclusive. Also, Jasmin Mujanovic outlines how Bosnia’s elections this month could tip the country back into conflict. Elsewhere in the issue: Alex Dean highlights the alarming decline in the number of students studying a foreign language at GCSE and beyond. Will Self reviews a series of new books about liberalism, arguing that “we need more than just social freedoms and the free market.” Aimee Cliff charts the story of the dying dream that London would be a 24-hour city.