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24% cut to skills funding 'an act of wilful vandalism that will decimate further education'

26 February 2015 | last updated: 10 December 2015

UCU has warned that cuts of up to a quarter in funding for adult learning courses risks decimating further education provision and leaving millions of the most vulnerable adults without access to any opportunity to improve their education.

The union was responding to the Skills Funding Letter 2015-16, which outlined that £770m of adult skills funding in 2015-16 will be set aside for apprenticeships. This means that the bulk of the overall 11% cut to the Adult Skills Budget will fall on non-apprenticeship provision; the Skills Funding Agency has estimated that this could amount to cuts of up to 24% for non-apprenticeship learning in 2015-16. 

UCU said that these cuts would hit vulnerable learners hardest, with millions of people who missed out on qualifications at school or those who need to retrain missing out if the cuts go ahead in 2015/16.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'This latest announcement is an act of wilful vandalism that will decimate further education as we know it today. Millions of people use colleges every year as a springboard to improving their education and skills, and cuts of this size will shut the door on those who need us most.

'The government's myopic obsession with apprenticeships at the expense of everything else risks leaving many types of courses unsustainable, and UCU calls upon all those who care about further education to join us in fighting these appalling cuts.'