FE Colleges (Capital Funding)

Business, Innovation and Skills – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 8th July 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Charlie Elphicke Charlie Elphicke Conservative, Dover 10:30 am, 8th July 2010

How many further education colleges will receive capital funding from his Department in 2010-11.

Watch this
Embed this video

Copy and paste this code on your website

Hide

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes The Minister for Universities and Science, The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

One hundred and sixty colleges, including 28 sixth-form colleges, will receive further education capital support totalling £407 million in 2010. In addition, a further £50 million will be invested to support those colleges that have yet to significantly benefit from the capital programme. We expect that extra resource to increase significantly the number of colleges that receive capital grant support, with potentially 293 colleges receiving capital support in 2010-11.

Watch this

Photo of Charlie Elphicke Charlie Elphicke Conservative, Dover

Will funding be available for Hadlow college's plans for Betteshanger business park, near Deal? The business park was created by the regional development agency, £18 million was spent, and it has been left empty. It would be great to bring it into use.

Watch this

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes The Minister for Universities and Science, The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

It is essential that my hon. Friend and the House understand that that resource is on top of the existing investment programme, which is supporting a large number of current projects. That resource will enable real investment, bringing genuine benefits to learners and enabling colleges to plan for the future. I do not want to be unkind to Opposition Members, but it is important to recognise the disappointment that colleges felt under the previous Government. The Foster report said that that was due to inadequate management information, poor monitoring, a poor long-term financial strategy, meetings that led nowhere and monitoring that was focused on the wrong things. Now, I do not want to be unkind, but that is not good enough.

Watch this

Photo of Joan Walley Joan Walley Chair, Environmental Audit Committee

Given that we are where we are in respect of capital funding for colleges, will the Minister look very carefully at the urgent need for increased capital expenditure in Stoke-on-Trent and at whether we can apply for the £5 million to get investment in the Burslem and Shelton campuses? Our college has no reserves, and I need the Minister to address that urgently.

Watch this

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes The Minister for Universities and Science, The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

I cannot make promises about individual colleges, but I hear what the hon. Lady says-she makes a powerful case-and I will be happy to meet her with my officials to discuss that matter further.

Watch this

Photo of David Evennett David Evennett Conservative, Bexleyheath and Crayford

May I welcome the Minister's response and his plans to give further education colleges more freedom? Will the new freedoms that he is offering extend to capital projects, to make it easier for colleges to get alternative sources of finance?

Watch this

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes The Minister for Universities and Science, The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

Indeed, and it is perhaps also important to let the House know that the Government money that is available will leverage in other moneys. We want to look at all kinds of ways in which colleges, enjoying the new freedoms that this Government are determined to give them, can invest in their future. By the way, I know that my hon. Friend is a great champion of further education. I add that because he deserves that plaudit.

Watch this

Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Labour, Brent North

Will the Minister accept my invitation to come and visit the College of North West London in Brent so that he can spread some of his largesse there?

Watch this

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes The Minister for Universities and Science, The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

My largesse is legendary, and I can hardly wait to visit. I would make one request-that there are tea and cakes when I arrive.

Watch this