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Higher Education: South East

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 5 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills which colleges in (a) London and (b) Kent are affected by the Learning and Skills Council's decision to postpone capital projects by three months. (253917)

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.

But the pace of demand for capital funding has increased. 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, I have asked Mark Haysom, the LSC chief executive, to write to the hon. Member with the further information requested. A copy of his letter will be placed in both Libraries.