This Government are committed to delivering a high-quality education for all students, which is why we are investing an extra £291 million in 16 to 19 education in 2021-22, in addition to the £400 million awarded in the 2019 spending review. This is the biggest injection of new money into 16 to 19-year-olds in a single year for over a decade.
I thank the Minister for her answer, but in reality the funding that she mentions does not scratch the surface after a decade of real-terms cuts. The cost of educating sixth-formers has risen and student numbers have ballooned, due to covid and demographics. As such, the rate increase will likely be entirely eaten up by inflation alone in the coming year. Will she finally commit to increasing the rate to at least £4,760—the level recommended by the Raise the Rate campaign, and supported by experts across the sector, including the Education Committee and Ofsted’s chief inspector?
It is important to spell out that the money we are talking about is not the only money that goes into further education. As well as the base rate, we have invested another £7 billion this academic year to ensure that there is a place for everybody in education and training, and an extra £83 million in capital funding to ensure that we can accommodate the demographic increase in 16 to 19-year-olds that the hon. Gentleman mentioned. On top of that, we have £1.5 billion in capital funding, T-level funding going up to £500 million a year and more funding for apprenticeships and skills boot camps. There is a whole plethora of additional funding, not just the base rate.