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AoC reacts to Autumn Statement

17 November 2022

Responding to the Autumn Statement, David Hughes, AoC Chief Executive said: “The Chancellor is right that being pro-education is being pro-growth. That is why it is so baffling that Jeremy Hunt has not chosen to invest in colleges which are vital drivers of skills for young people entering work, the adult workforce and employers.

“I’m pleased to see some extra school funding – they need it. But the failure to extend that to colleges is devastating. The Education Secretary Gillian Keegan joined me on stage at the AoC annual conference this week and assured college leaders that they are a priority for this government and that she understands skills.

“Those words and her whole speech will ring hollow today for college leaders trying to absorb soaring energy prices and wider inflationary pressures while also finding the cash to pay college staff what they need to live and what they deserve for their hard work.

“Once again, we seem to have a Chancellor who talks a good game on skills, but does not deliver and can only offer a review led by Sir Michael Barber rather than cash.

"My only hope now is that Gillian Keegan and Robert Halfon will be able to use underspends on 16-18 and clawbacks from the adult education budget to invest in colleges rather than using it to plug problems elsewhere. With colleges facing another massive hike in energy bills next April as support ends, we urgently need a long-term strategy to help colleges stay financially viable.”