On 21st May a Government statement was repeated in the House of Lords about the future of British Steel. The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, among the 4,500 British Steel jobs at risk are many apprenticeship trainees and students enrolled on degree apprenticeships. What action will the Government take to ensure that these apprentices will not lose their training or have their training disrupted, but will be able to continue their training elsewhere in another steel-based firm, or have an equivalent apprenticeship in another place?
Lord Henley: My Lords, the right reverend Prelate is quite right to draw attention to the uncertainty facing apprentices in the steelworks at Scunthorpe and the other places where British Steel is based, but also to draw attention to the concerns of all those who are employed by British Steel and the uncertainty they face.
I can offer him an assurance that my right honourable friend will be talking to government colleagues in other departments to make sure that all appropriate help and support can be given by the Government, particularly, as the right reverend Prelate drew attention to, to those who are in the middle of apprenticeships with British Steel. It is right to remember at this stage that we have an economy that is providing virtually full employment. We have seen employment grow to levels that we have not seen for a very long time, we have seen unemployment continue to fall and we want to continue that process.