This week we have set out our plan to improve access to GP appointments for patients, backed by a £250 million winter access fund, as we level up performance across the country. Patients should be able to see their GP in the way they want, no matter where they live, and GPs should not face barriers to doing their vital work. That is why we have set out a new plan, including a £250 million winter access fund, to increase the number of face-to-face appointments and boost urgent same-day care. Our new plan will increase oversight of practices, and GP appointment data will be published at practice level by spring next year – helping to tackle underperformance. We are also setting out more measures to tackle abuse at GP surgeries so staff who work tirelessly to care for patients can do so without fear for their safety. This is part of our major drive to support GPs, level up performance, and ensure that everyone can see their GP in the way they want.
Thousands of adults will be offered free training in sought-after STEM subjects, building on the Prime Minister’s pledge to level up and get more people into higher wage, higher skilled jobs. Our Plan for Jobs is working, with unemployment down and payroll employees up, and now we are going further to invest in the skills needed to support high quality, well-paid jobs. That is why we have announced 65 courses will be available at 10 Institutes of Technology across England from this month, allowing 4,000 adults to study sought-after STEM subjects, with priority for those employed in related industries such as digital or healthcare. In addition, more than 100 further education and higher education providers will benefit from an £18 million cash boost to expand training and provide new equipment to support technical education, plugging the skills gap and levelling up opportunity.
The latest statistics reveal that the number of people in employment rose by 207,000 last month and is now above pre-pandemic levels, with job vacancies and wages also rising – showing that our Plan for Jobs is working. As we move beyond the pandemic, our priority is getting people back into work and helping businesses to thrive. North Cornwall’s businesses showed great resilience during the pandemic. If you are a regular reader of my weekly column, you’ll remember that one of my conditions for supporting the lockdowns was the commitment by government to ensure that as many of our jobs as possible were retained and the maximum support was available to employers. I’m very pleased that new figures released this morning show that the number of payroll employees rose by 207,000 in September and now stands at record levels – with the unemployment rate falling by 0.4 per cent and over 1.1 million job vacancies now available. These statistics confirm that our Plan for Jobs is bringing economic security to millions of workers, more trade for businesses, and greater prosperity throughout the country.