Skip to main content

Further Education: Finance

Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills on using unspent capital allocations in that Department's budget for capital projects in the further education sector; and if he will make a statement. (261761)

The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families is in ongoing contact with the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills about the use of the FE capital modernisation fund, which is administered by the Learning and Skills Council to support the improvement of college facilities. As it has always done, the Department will co-operate with the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills wherever possible to support the interests of learners in this country. We are discussing, with the LSC, ways of supporting additional capital building programmes in the FE sector. However, in the current spending review period, the Department’s capital resources for strategic, targeted and devolved programmes for schools are fully committed.

The Government’s record on capital investment in the further education sector has been exemplary. In 1997 there was no capital budget for FE colleges; between 1997/98 and 2006/07, more than £2 billion was invested in modernising FE facilities and we will spend another £2.3 billion on the FE estate in the current spending review period.

As the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills made clear in his statement on 4 March, there are 253 projects that have already received agreement in detail and are under way and we anticipate spending the full £2.3 billion in this spending review period.

The Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills has asked the LSC to consult with the Association of Colleges and the FE sector on ways of prioritising schemes in the future programme. The Department will continue to work with DIUS and the LSC to bring the benefits of the capital modernisation programme to as many young people as possible.