LSC must justify capital loss in court

18th December 2009 at 00:00
The learning and Skills Council (LSC) faces a court battle to justify its decision not to compensate colleges that spent millions preparing for capital projects that had no chance of proceeding

Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education has won the right to a judicial review, expected to take place before next summer, examining the funding body's handling of the capital crisis.

It argues that the LSC should have been able to warn colleges earlier that the money was running out and, having discovered the shortfall, should have compensated them before approving another 13 new campuses this summer.

Rodger McCracken, director of corporate governance at the college, said: "If you gave a child a pound and asked it to write down every time it bought a 10p sweet, it could tell you how much it had left. We say it was no more complicated than that for the LSC."

If it wins, the college wants pound;3.75 million to completely refund its costs in planning for the pound;139 million development.

Other colleges are unlikely to benefit, however. Although a victory for Grimsby could be seen as a precedent, parties have to file for judicial review within three months of the original decision unless there are exceptional circumstances, which would have set the deadline as September.

A spokeswoman for the LSC said: "The Grimsby Institute has been granted permission to proceed with an application for a judicial review regarding its capital build bid. The matter is likely to be listed for a full hearing in the next couple of months."

The news comes as a merger between Grimsby Institute and Yorkshire Coast College was approved.

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