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AoC Chief calls for greater focus on colleges after MP questions lack of funding in further education

20 May 2019

Following Labour MP Toby Perkins’ question to the Prime Minister about the lack of funding in further education, David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “Given the understandable ongoing focus of Brexit in UK politics, it is incredible really but deeply significant and absolutely right that the first question in today’s PMQs speaks to the skills challenges our country currently faces. “Whatever happens with Brexit over the coming weeks, we need to ensure that we have the right skills for our country to be successful, and that will involve people from across the country having more opportunities to train and re-skill. Colleges are central to this – but for colleges to be able to deliver, they will need more and better investment, as Toby Perkins has rightly raised. “Every community needs a successful and vibrant college. They are at the centre of their communities and must be at the centre of our country’s future, whatever our relationship is with the EU.” Over the last ten years, colleges have had to deal with an average funding cut of 30%, whilst at the same time, costs have increased dramatically. Further education is the only part of the education budget to have had year-on-year cuts since 2010. Funding for adult education has had a cut of 62%. In the last ten years total enrolments for adults has dropped from 5.1 million to 1.9 million