Response to cuts to the Union Learning Fund

This month the government announced plans to cut the £12 million Union Learning Fund which supports workers to develop at work and reskill for new opportunities. Alongside the Trade Union Congress and its member unions, Community is campaigning against the cuts.

Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, said:

“It is a disgrace that at a time when millions of workers are already out of work, and with unemployment due to double by the end of this year that the government have decided to cut funding which directly supports workers with training and learning.

The Union Learning Fund provides vital support to help workers develop in their careers, reskill for new jobs or roles and learn new skills. Since it was created over 20 years ago, it has benefited not only hundreds of thousands of union members and workers, but businesses and communities across the UK. It has transformed lives and empowered individuals who otherwise wouldn’t have been reached in their workplace and supported to develop. 

Even before the pandemic we were seeing a significant gap between skills UK workers held and the skills that they needed to succeed in their jobs. The ongoing pandemic has brought an even starker need for workers to have access to retraining, development and learning opportunities than ever before. The decision to cut funding to the most crucial source of support will see the unemployment crisis impact our country and economy for years to come.

Only recently the Prime Minister promised a ‘radical’ shake-up of adult education. Little did workers know this meant a cut to funding and a reduction in access to learning in and out of workplaces. Learning and skills are vital for our economic recovery and growth, for levelling up and for a successful industrial strategy. Now is the time for government to stand by their words and support workers, not desert them in a time of crisis.”


The ULF was set up in 1998 to offer increased access to learning and training in workplaces, brokered by trade unions. Last year, it supported 200,000 learners – both union members and non-members.

You can sign the petition against the cuts here.

Find out more about learning opportunities available through our dedicated learning team here.

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