In Conversation with Darren Jones MP, BEIS Select Committee Chair
New Select Committee Chair sets out his ambitions
Darren Jones MP (Bristol North West), the newly elected chair of the BEIS Select Committee, spoke to Policy Connect about his hopes for the Committee over this Parliament. Acknowledging the scale of the challenges facing Government and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Darren said that he was keen that the Committee played a constructive and sustained role in offering solutions and holding government to account.
Darren spoke at length on the issues confronting businesses in the wake of the pandemic and the importance of the UK acting as a world leader in moving towards net-zero. He also emphasised the significance of skills in addressing national policy priorities:
“Just as we invest in our infrastructure we need to invest in education and training particularly so that we can benefit from the 4th industrial revolution. Skills needs to be seen in the same way we now see digital, as a key part of our national infrastructure.”
The MP was especially concerned about a drop in apprenticeship numbers, because of both the human impact on young people missing out on training opportunities, and the pipeline issues that would hit businesses further down the line if training is reduced.
Devolution was also cited as an issue the chair was keen to look at in more detail. Between city councils, mayoral combined authorities and supra-regional bodies the landscape appears very fragmented and uneven across the country.
Over the course of the roundtable Darren also:
- Announced a ‘super inquiry’ for the length of the parliament to examine the response to Corona virus pandemic and how to ensure a greener and inclusive recovery
- Spoke of his intention to work with other Select Committee Chairs
- Committed to cooperate with the devolved parliaments in the run up to CoP 26 – a first for a Select Committee
*Darren Jones MP chaired Policy Connect’s Trust, Transparency and Tech report. Policy Connect has submitted evidence to the BEIS Committee’s My BEIS call for inquiry suggestions and will be briefing Darren on our England’s Skills Puzzle, and Levelling-up Manufacturing reports.