UCU members lead lobby of MPs over college cuts

18 March 2015 | last updated: 10 December 2015

College lecturers are descending on Parliament today to lobby their MPs over plans to slash budgets for further education.

The cuts will see college budgets reduced by an average of 17%. However, because of protections on apprenticeship funding, the budget for other types of adult education will be cut by up to 24%.

UCU has warned that many of the courses most at risk cater for people who missed out on qualifications at school, or those who need short bursts of learning to get back into employment.

Over 17,000 people have already signed a petition opposing the cuts announced at the end of last month. MPs have started to show their opposition as well by signing an early day motion that says further education is central to improving the nation's skills and calls on the government to rethink its plans.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'These cuts would drastically alter the face of further education. Funding for adult skills has already fallen 35% since 2009, and this latest reduction could be the final nail in the coffin for some courses. We hope more MPs will now back the campaign and write to skills minister Nick Boles.

'Not everyone needs or wants to study an apprenticeship, but colleges are being forced to prioritise them over other kinds of courses. This approach will shut the door to people who want to use adult education as a springboard for improving their skills.'

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