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Volume 590: debated on Thursday 8 January 2015

Some £l70 million has been made available between 2014 and 2016 to fund more than 100,000 additional payments of the apprenticeship grant to employers, and the Government’s planned investment in apprenticeships in the current financial year totals £1.5 billion.

Will the Minister join me in welcoming the news that in Gillingham and Rainham there were 450 intermediate, 230 advanced, and 20 high-level apprenticeship starts in 2013-14, meaning that 700 young people gained invaluable skills and experiences for future careers? Will he join me in congratulating businesses such as Jubilee Clips and Delphi in my constituency on providing excellent engineering apprenticeships?

Businesses such as those my hon. Friend mentions are leading this country into recovery and ensuring that that benefits everyone in his constituency. Since 2009-10, there has been a 73% increase in the number of new apprenticeships in his constituency, and that extraordinary figure is testament to local employers, colleges, and the local Member of Parliament.