Skip to main content

Funding: 16 to 19-year-olds

Volume 638: debated on Monday 19 March 2018

As I have pointed out, we have protected the base rate of funding for 16 to 19-year-olds until 2020, and we will invest £500 million extra a year into T-levels. I have asked my officials to assess how far the current funding system meets the costs of high-quality provision in the further education sector and will update the House shortly.

Last week, Warrington and Vale Royal College announced its intention to close the campus at Northwich in my constituency—with 56 job losses and 300 students displaced—citing severe financial pressures and the Government’s area-based review. Will the Secretary of State or the Minister agree to meet with me, the staff and some of the students affected, and hopefully reverse the decision?

I am happy to meet the hon. Gentleman. I should point out, because not everybody understands it, that colleges are independent bodies. I understand that Warrington and Vale Royal College recently took a view that the Hartford campus in Northwich was unviable and that provision should be transferred to create a more efficient offer at other sites, with travel support provided to learners. The issue arose from difficulties in recruiting learners, not budget cuts.

Hopwood Hall College in Rochdale has achieved some remarkable results. Towns such as Rochdale are more dependent on further education and less dependent on the university system. Will the Government recognise that the differential in funding in further education holds back young people from the most-deprived areas, who need skills training more than anybody else?

One reason why we are undertaking a post-18 review of education and funding is to make sure that all people, no matter where they come from or what part of the country they live in, have access to high-quality education, be that in HE or FE.