Let down again over surplus cash

5th September 2008 at 01:00

I read with deep concern your article uncovering how unspent money from the Government's further education budget has been redirected to fund higher education ("Universities scoop college cash", FE Focus, August 29).

Not only has the adult education sector been let down by the Government, through Train to Gain giving yet more money to employers who have failed to spend it appropriately in previous years, but it is clear that the much needed surplus budget is now being relocated to plug holes in higher education funding to the tune of up to Pounds 128 million.

While taxpayers' money should of course be allocated where it can be used to best effect, and the NUS agrees student grants for higher education should be properly funded, this should not come at the expense of an already depleted sector.

It is incumbent on the Secretary of State, John Denham, to put in place measures to ensure that all funding allocated to adult education is spent on adult education.

This latest betrayal of FE reinforces the reason behind the newly formed Campaigning Alliance for Lifelong Learning (Call), of which the NUS is a founder member. We must fight to ensure that funding for the further and adult education sectors is adequate and properly spent, lest it disappear with the stroke of a bureaucrat's biro.

Beth Walker, Vice-president (further education) National Union of Students.

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