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Launched at the House of Commons last week, political parties were urged to boost the UK economy by strengthening the labour market.

In a manifesto presented to Government Ministers and a cross party group of MPs and peers, the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) called for policy makers across the major parties to adopt its recommendations designed to tackle the UK’s professional skills crisis, raise collective productivity, and drive economic growth.

The APSCo’s four key opportunities they believe need to be capitalised on are:

  • Creating the right workforce regulatory environment – this includes the Agency Workers Regulations for highly paid contractors and IR35.
  • Supporting workforce skills growth, training and talent development.
  • Introducing policies that drive fairness and inclusion in the new world of work.
  • Harnessing technology for the skills revolution.

Commenting on this, Tania Bowers, Global Public Policy Director at APSCo, said, “Research from our members, Trusted Partners and Global Strategic partners such as LinkedIn are all pointing to the same issue in the UK; a severe shortage of professional skills that is only growing.

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“Businesses are facing a critical lack of workers, with IT, digital, engineering and healthcare some of the hardest hit remits. For the country to remain competitive, our labour market needs to be world-leading, fair and flexible.

“Our manifesto outlines exactly how that can be achieved. In what is already proving to be a highly contentious general election year, it is crucial that the major parties have a plan in place to beat the skills crisis that’s prevailed for far too long in the UK.

“We’ve already started engaging with key policy makers across the core political parties – many of whom were in attendance at the launch event itself – and it’s encouraging to note that these recommendations are aligned to the thinking of many MPs and policy influencers.

“Politicians of all parties recognised that the recruitment and outsourcing sectors play a crucial role in the strength of the labour market and the UK economy. We are pleased to hear that APSCo’s manifesto aligns with the core ideas of the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democratic and all parties that are looking to retain seats in Westminster as the general election nears.”

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