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Cabinet Reshuffle: AoC response

27 April 2020

Today the Prime Minister announced his first Cabinet reshuffle since the General Election. There were a lot of changes in the top positions, including the introduction of a new Chancellor – Rishi Sunak, and the return of Gavin Williamson as Education Secretary. David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges responds: “I am delighted to see Gavin Williamson confirmed as Education Secretary. He has shown over the last 6 months that he believes in colleges and wants to develop a stronger post-16 education and training system. His many visits to colleges and engagement with college leaders has led to a strong relationship which we are optimistic about. I know that the additional funding announced last September was in large part due to his advocacy within the government and I have no doubt that the capital funding and new National Skills Fund promised in the Conservative election manifesto were also driven by his ambition for the sector. We are looking forward to him championing college investment in the Budget and the Spending Review. I also want to congratulate Rishi Sunak as Chancellor of the Exchequer. I have written to him today, sharing our Budget submission. It is widely agreed that colleges have suffered from a decade of neglect, with an overall 30% reduction in funding. There are signs that the neglect is over and I am looking forward to working with the Chancellor and his team to make sure that the potential of colleges is fully appreciated. That potential is to support people to get on in work and life, to help employers recruit skilled people and to improve productivity and to drive economic and community development in every part of the country. With the right investment, colleges can help this government deliver on many of its ambitions; I hope and trust that the Chancellor will recognise that and invest wisely.”