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Further Education Funding — [Sir Roger Gale in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 2nd April 2019.

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Photo of Richard Graham Richard Graham Conservative, Gloucester 9:30 am, 2nd April 2019

The short answer to my hon. Friend Steve Brine is yes.

Today, I want to set out briefly what the problem is—as you say, Sir Roger, many Members wish to speak—what the case for further education colleges is in more detail, what outcomes we would like to see from more funding going into the sector, what skills and productivity we should be looking for, and some of the key statistics, both locally and nationally, that are on our minds.

Let me start by outlining the problem. It is simply that education for 16 to 18-year-olds has, broadly speaking, not been funded as well as that for other age groups. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has done research that shows that. The chart we used in our letter shows clearly that, of the four main categories of education—primary, secondary, further and higher—further education is the only one on which spending has fallen in real terms recently. It is therefore the most deserving of the four categories, but let it also be said—