Clause 5

Part of Further Education and Training Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 12th June 2007.

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Photo of Phil Hope Phil Hope Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Skills), Department for Education and Skills 12:00 pm, 12th June 2007

I understand the point that the hon. Gentleman makes, but most of the reductions in courses that he describes were in short, non-priority, non-accredited provisions that did not offer opportunities for individuals to progress to further learning or to gain skills for employment.

The hon. Gentleman also raised an important point about wider adult community learning. The Government are absolutely committed to adult learning in the broadest sense. That is why, through our strategy for personal and community development learning, we have this year ring-fenced £210 million to ensure new partnerships at the local level. They will be led by LSCs, and they will bring together all the partners, including local authorities, the LSCs, the voluntary sector and organisations such as the Workers Educational Association. Working in partnership, they will be able to ask, for such courses and for this kind of broader learning, what strategies can be put in place to maximise the various contributions made by different organisations in order to reduce  overlap and ensure that those who do not benefit from such opportunities can benefit in future.