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Minister says 'let them make cake'

Phil Hope - one-time amateur juggler and the current skills minister - has been on sparkling form, reassuring Parliament about the future of studying for leisure. All it takes is for adults to dig a little deeper into their pockets and such courses can survive, he explained.

He said the focus on government priorities "does not mean that all adult education courses must close", adding "other alternatives include raising fee income and rebalancing the taxpayer's contribution to leisure courses, such as Australian cake decorating, which are perfectly valid".

Surely the French know more than Australians about tarting up cakes - and themselves?

A Department for Education and Skills spokesman assures me Mr Hope was only joking about the title of the course.

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