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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:15 am on 2nd April 2019.

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Photo of Emma Reynolds Emma Reynolds Labour, Wolverhampton North East 10:15 am, 2nd April 2019

Indeed. If we are serious about social mobility, we must fund further education better. More broadly, if as a society and as an economy we are serious about attracting more investment into the UK and competing in the world and, crucially—the hon. Members for South West Bedfordshire (Andrew Selous) and for Gloucester mentioned this—if we are serious about tackling low productivity, we cannot do anything about those things unless we invest in the skills of our young people and adults. We know that we have a problem with that in the UK; it is not a new problem. It is pretty clear to everyone here that we need sustained increases in funding for colleges, and the Raise the Rate campaign will, I hope, ultimately be successful.

The colleges have done a good job in raising the problem. Often in education debates, we focus purely on the early years, which are very important, and on primary and secondary and then university education, and further education is overlooked. That is why today’s debate is critical.

I say again that I hope the TVs in the Treasury are switched on to Westminster Hall this morning. I thank the Minister for her advocacy. This is not just the right thing morally; increasing and sustaining further education funding is the right thing to do for the prosperity of our country.