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Further Education Colleges

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009

13. To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of capital funding for further education colleges; and if he will make a statement. (252527)

It is thanks to this Government's commitment to colleges that investment in capital projects will amount to £2.3 billion between 2007 and 2010. In total, since the programme began under this Government, nearly 700 projects, at 330 colleges have been agreed. Only 42 colleges have not yet benefited from investment. The programme has therefore been a huge success.

In 1997 not a single penny was spent on FE colleges, with a National Audit Offce report saying FE buildings were not fit to learn in. The Opposition have committed to cutting £610 million from the skills and universities budget; and have repeatedly refused to say whether they would continue our capital programme. Until they come clean about where their cuts would fall, every college should be worried.

I want to make it clear today that there is no freeze in the capital programme. There is no question the £110 million brought forward for this year, and the £100 million for next year will be spent.