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Spending Review and Autumn Statement — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:04 pm on 25th November 2015.

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Photo of Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton Labour 4:04 pm, 25th November 2015

My Lords, I want to speak about the Minister’s apparent optimism about the northern powerhouse and regions in the light of the fact, following the previous speaker, that there is a disparity of funding for young people taking A-levels in sixth form colleges, schools and FE colleges. All the predictions are that many FE colleges will close. As for the north of England, I speak with detailed knowledge of Lancashire, where we have a fine tradition of tertiary colleges. For the Chancellor to be offering the chance for new school sixth forms or academies is pathetic, given the needs. If the Chancellor is serious about, for example, the construction industry, or the Government are serious about the care sector, how do they put that alongside the fact that closing FE colleges will restrict the number of people who are qualified to work in those fields and many others? I am afraid that too many members of this Government went from school to sixth form to university. The Leader of the House is saying that this is not the case, but far too much of their modelling is based on that sort of history, and they do not know enough about further education.