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Higher Education: March, Cambridgeshire

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 5 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what progress has been made on plans for the new campus of the College of West Anglia proposal for the town of March. (253159)

Since 1997, this Government have invested £2.4 billion in redeveloping and modernising further education colleges. In addition we have plans to invest a further £2.3 billion in the next three years.

In total, since the programme began, nearly 700 projects, at 330 colleges have been agreed—including support for the College of West Anglia.

But the pace of demand for capital funding has increased. Projects and the scale of Government funding they require are becoming increasingly ambitious. In addition there are signs that the ability of colleges to raise their own funds for proposed projects is being affected by the downturn.

It is for this reason that over the next few weeks the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is working closely with colleges that have submitted or are working on bids, to look at the individual current positions before making further funding decisions. As a result of this the consideration of a small number of applications that were due for decision—both in principle and in detail—has been deferred from December to March.

As the hon. Member’s question relates to an operational matter for the LSC, Mark Haysom, the LSC chief executive, will write to the hon. Member with the further information requested. A copy of his letter will be placed in both Libraries.