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House of Commons Hansard
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Petitions
12 March 2019
Volume 656

Petitions

Tuesday 12 March 2019

Observations

Education

Levels of pay in Further Education

The petition of residents of the United Kingdom,

Declares that while participation in full-time education has more than doubled over the past 30 years, it is reported that spending per student in further education is 8% lower than in secondary schools; further that colleges over the last decade have dealt with an average 30% cut to funding as costs continue to increase; further that this has resulted in a drastic drop in learning opportunities available to students, fewer teaching hours and support for young people, and staff pay; further that the situation is not sustainable and ultimately impacts on student performance; further that 547 staff and students from Darlington College have signed a similar petition to the government regarding further education funding.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to provide fair funding for further education and fair pay for college staff in the interest for student performance and educational outcomes.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Jenny Chapman , Official Report, 30 January 2019; Vol. 653, c. 792 .]

[P002311]

Observations from the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills (Anne Milton):

Further education providers have a vital role to play in making sure young people and adults have the skills they need to get on in life. We are aware of the financial pressures in the further education sector generally which is why we are currently considering the efficiency and resilience of the sector and assessing how far existing funding and regulatory structures meet the costs of delivering quality further education.

We have protected the base rate of funding for all 16 to 19-year-old students until 2020 and plan to invest nearly £7 billion this academic year to make sure there is a place in education or training, including for apprenticeships, for every 16 to 19-year-old.

In addition, we have announced extra support for key priorities. We will provide additional funding to support institutions to grow participation in level 3 maths—an extra £600 for every additional student—with two payments of £600 if, for example, they are studying A level maths over two years. The first of these payments will be made in 2019-20. We have also approved significant restructuring funding for colleges. From 1 April 2016 to 31 January 2019, the total allocation of restructuring facility funding in England is approximately £470 million—the total spend so far is approximately £290 million.

Through the Adult Education Budget (AEB), we continue to provide full funding for adult learners who need English and maths skills to undertake a range of courses in GCSEs, Functional Skills and stepping stone qualifications from entry level to level 2. We have also announced a new statutory basic digital skills entitlement from 2020 to ensure adults can study for specified qualifications in basic digital skills free of charge to get the skills and capabilities they need to get on in life and work. We also recognise the vital role that community learning plays within AEB provision by providing accessible routes for adults to progress, and we fund this in a way that enables providers to meet the needs of disadvantaged learners. The Department has also taken the steps through Parliament to devolve the responsibility for adult education to metropolitan mayors, which is intended to allow for greater alignment of funding for this kind of provision to local need.

We will be looking hard in the forthcoming spending review at how to ensure adequate funding is available for further education, including adult skills, throughout the next spending review period.

Exiting the European Union

The delivery of Brexit

The Humble Petition of the residents of Wellingborough, Northamptonshire and the surrounding areas,

Sheweth,

That the Petitioners believe that the Brexit that they voted for should be adhered to by Her Majesty’s Government. This includes, ending the free-movement of people from the EU and control immigration, stop sending billions and billions of £s each year to Brussels, make our own laws in our own country, judges by our own judges.

Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House urges the Prime Minister to take in account the concerns of petitioners and deliver a Brexit which people voted for.

And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, etc.—[Presented by Mr Peter Bone , Official Report, 6 February 2019; Vol. 654, c. 362 .]

[P002401]

Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Kwasi Kwarteng):

The referendum on EU membership in 2016 was the biggest exercise of democracy in this nation’s history, and the British people voted to leave. The deal the UK has agreed with the EU is one that respects that result: free movement will end, the UK will stop paying vast sums of money to the EU, and jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) will stop. On top of this, the deal protects jobs and the Union, and gives citizens and businesses certainty; it prepares the ground for an unprecedented free trade deal with the EU that recognises the development of an independent UK trade policy; it removes us from EU programmes like the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy, granting us control of our waters as an independent coastal state.

As we leave the EU, free movement will end and we will introduce our new skills-based immigration system. This will include visa-free travel for short-term visits, including for tourists and business travellers. As set out in the Government’s recent White Paper, The UK’s future skills-based immigration system, we want the democratically elected representatives of the UK to be the ones to decide who comes into this country. Ours will be a fair immigration system based on people’s skills, rather than their nationality.

As well as ending free movement, the deal ends the UK paying vast sums of money to the EU and removes us from the EU budget. This will allow us to invest in domestic priorities, including the NHS, and will see all parts of the UK benefit from extra funding. There are of course areas where it makes sense for the UK and the EU to continue to pool resources, where we will deliver more together than we could alone. These include science and innovation, culture and education, and overseas development and external action.

In leaving the EU, the jurisdiction of the CJEU will end. After the implementation period, all laws in the UK will be passed by our elected officials in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London. There will only be specific and limited circumstances where the jurisdiction of the CJEU applies, for instance where we choose to participate in an EU agency.

The Government are committed to leaving the EU with a deal that honours the result of the referendum, while protecting our economy, security and our precious Union. The Government are working with MPs and EU leaders to secure this deal, and the Prime Minister has urged MPs to listen to the British people to get this issue settled and to work with the Government to do just that.