26th February 2010 at 00:00
Capital accident amp; Give them a hand

Capital accident

They just can't let it lie, can they? Clearly, the Government is still smarting about the bizarre way it provided the largest-ever investment in FE buildings only to somehow end up looking like the bad guy when the money ran out prematurely.

And so it put out a press release, trumpeting the number of colleges whose buildings were finished this year - 51 - causing observers of the capital debacle to have flashbacks and down yet another bottle of Valium.

FErret thinks he can say with a degree of certainty that capital funding is never going to be seen as one of this government's successes, however many announcements it makes.

"These new college buildings did not happen by accident," said FE minister Kevin Brennan.

Well, no - but you'd hardly argue that they were a triumph of planning either.

And of the three colleges whose buildings were visited by ministers, two are still waiting for money to finish other developments. These new college buildings did not happen, by accident.

Give them a hand

Fact-checking election claims can be a bit like refereeing a football match between certain players we could name - if in doubt, assume they're up to no good.

While the Tories were left embarrassed by a decimal point error that meant they absurdly claimed half of teenage girls in deprived areas were pregnant - it's about 5 per cent - on another they seem to have got it right.

Labour said the Tories had ignored FE students, claiming that just 45 receiving free school meals got places at Oxbridge. But Conservatives said the figures were based on those getting the subsidy at 15, so it was irrelevant.

Looking at the original Parliamentary answer, the Tories have a point. But the real question is, why would Labour draw attention to its unfair policy of denying free meals to students in FE?

A handball into their own net.

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