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Capital Expenditure

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 14 January 2010

13. What estimate he has made of the level of capital expenditure by further education colleges in (a) south Bedfordshire and (b) England in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. (310588)

In the financial year 2009-10, the Learning and Skills Council will invest £800 million in the development of 66 further education college capital projects across England. They will cost a total of £2.45 billion, and will receive just under £1.8 billion of Government investment in this and the next spending review. The Bedfordshire and Luton area has benefited from £52.8 million in LSC capital grant support since 2001, although in the last 12 months there has been no capital expenditure in South-West Bedfordshire.

I am glad that the Minister made the last point, that central Bedfordshire got nothing. Also, the college took on 250 extra students in September for whom it has no funding. I spoke to the principal this morning, and she told me she believes that she is expected to implement the January guarantee with no money. The local learning and skills council thinks that there is some money, but does not know how to access it. Can the Minister help?

I shall certainly be happy to look into that. I know that the hon. Gentleman’s local college, which has changed its name, has received £740,000 in support for the capital project development costs that it was not able to go ahead with as a result of the programme. However, I am certainly happy to look into the point that he makes about the January guarantee.