The adult education budget will be devolved to London from 2019-20, chancellor Philip Hammond has confirmed.
He announced the move in the autumn statement this afternoon. The official document published today confirmed that the move will take effect from 2019-20, subject to “readiness conditions”.
To date, devolution deals which involve devolving significant skills powers have been agreed in eight other parts of the country: Tees Valley, West Yorkshire, Sheffield City Region, Liverpool City Region, West Midlands, Greater Manchester, North East, Cornwall and London
Central government is set to start transfering accountability to the regions for the delivery of a number of objectives from 2017-18. Over 20 more areas have drawn up devolution bids covering skills and employment policy.
It was also confirmed today that the government will transfer the budget for the new Work and Health Programme to London and Greater Manchester, “subject to the two areas meeting certain conditions, including on co-funding”.
David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “The chancellor today confirmed that the adult education budget will be devolved to Greater London in 2019-20. There are clear potential benefits if this leads to greater flexibility for colleges to meet local employer, community and student needs, but there is a lack of detail currently about how it will work in practice.
“We will continue to recommend that the Department for Education and the Department for Communities and Local Government publish a skills devolution green paper to help clarify responsibilities and priorities and encourage debate about the potential benefits and risks. It is important for colleges to be given the flexibilities to deliver the learning that London and Londoners want and need but there are too many unknowns about how this will work for us to be confident of that outcome."