In response to today’s Spring Statement from the Chancellor, David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said:
“Today in his Spring Statement, the Chancellor recognised that to be successful post-Brexit government must put technical and vocational skills “at the heart of the system”.
“As the political debate about our country’s future continues, it’s great to see government recognise this, and colleges will be central to delivering that system. He highlighted T levels, the national retraining scheme and apprenticeships – just a few of the ways in which colleges are driving economic growth, supporting prosperous communities, and empowering individuals.
“The Chancellor also again signalled the end of austerity. Given that he now acknowledges the vital role that colleges play, he must also put an end to the decade of cuts that they have faced. Just last month, 165 MPs, including many from the Chancellor’s own party, wrote to him calling for urgent investment in colleges. They join employers, trade unions, college staff and leaders, parents and students, who have long campaigned for a better deal for further education. Today shows us that government is now listening.
“Is it enough? No. But it is a start.
“As we now make our way towards the Comprehensive Spending Review and the next Budget, positive words made at the dispatch box must be turned into action and investment. We are eager for the spending review process to start so that the case for investing in young people and adults through colleges can be properly considered and acted upon, and we will keep pushing to make sure that colleges have the investment they need to thrive.
“The Chancellor himself has now made clear that a failure to invest in further education would be a failure to invest in our country.”