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7th July 2006 at 01:00
There is no dispute between me and the LSC over funding methods for FE colleges ("Funding chief's secret war with minister over cash", FE Focus,June 30.) We want users of FE services - learners and employers - to have more choice and more say. Our strategy is therefore to move to a demand-led system which is more responsive to the needs, preferences and priorities of those users. This was clearly set out in our FE white paper in March and in previous skills strategy white papers. My department and the LSC have worked closely in developing the strategy, and we continue to do so to implement it.

Our task now is to work together to put in place the right measures to meet our aspirations for the FE sector. We cannot simply set out the strategy in a white paper and then walk away.

Without proper debate, implementation will be stunted. I want more people involved in this debate and will continue to engage with the sector through our regular contacts with colleges through our Sounding Boards and regional visits. We aim for a streamlined and straightforward system, giving predictability to colleges and providers, and more tailored funding for learners and employers. There will also be new opportunities for enterprising colleges and providers to develop their business.

Bill Rammell

Further and higher education Minister

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