The Government are investing £290 million to establish a network of 21 institutes of technology throughout the country, actively targeting the areas where they are needed the most. Wave 1 has already established 12 IOTs across 50 locations, and wave 2 will add a further nine IOTs. We are getting the best of the further education sector, alongside the best of the higher education sector and the best of British employers, to deliver world-class technical education.
It is concerning that, after two waves of IOTs, a vacuum has emerged in East Anglia that places local learners at an unfair disadvantage compared with those elsewhere. I am grateful to the Minister for Higher and Further Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chippenham (Michelle Donelan), for the briefing that she provided to Suffolk and Norfolk MPs following the decision to reject the east of England bid; will she or my hon. Friend convene a meeting of those who prepared the bid, the two county councils and MPs to agree a strategy to fill the vacuum as quickly as possible?
As my hon. Friend noted, he had a meeting with my right hon. Friend the Minister for Higher and Further Education on this issue. I know he is a passionate advocate for education in his area and wants to see the excellent success of our IOTs replicated in his region. At this time, there are no plans to extend IOTs, but we very much keep the policy under review and want to see them go from strength to strength.