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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:25 am on 2nd April 2019.

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Photo of Martin Vickers Martin Vickers Conservative, Cleethorpes 10:25 am, 2nd April 2019

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Colleges have given young people in the Cleethorpes area the opportunity to gain vision and ambition, and have helped to retain those young people in the local area once they have qualified, which is particularly important.

In the short time I have, I will mention some of the other points that the principals at my two colleges have drawn to my attention. They have, of course, highlighted the fact that, over the past 10 years, there has been a 30% funding cut in FE colleges. The principal at Franklin College pointed out that, to start off with, that actually helped, inasmuch as principals recognised there were economies to be made and efficiencies that could be gained.

One important point both principals have drawn to my attention is that FE students in this country get 14 or 15 hours’ tuition per week on average, compared with 26 hours in Canada, 27 in Singapore and 30 in Shanghai. We are in a competitive situation, and we need to train our young people to go out and get the qualifications that enable them to compete for jobs in what is, whether we like it or not, a global economy.

The Minister can see from the number of Members who have turned up how strongly feelings on this issue run across parties. I urge her to take these points away. We will give her our full support in her battles with the Treasury.