Pounds 4m writ served in row over debt claim

23rd August 1996 at 01:00
A writ for Pounds 4 million has been served on one of the country's biggest FE colleges after months of talks failed to settle a debt row.

The action is being taken by Bradford Council against Bradford and Ilkley Community College, which claims the amount is "substantially" less. Similar legal clashes have ocurred since colleges became independent of local education authorities in 1993.

Tony Kilner, solicitor for the council, compared the dispute to a messy divorce. "We have been talking about this for months and have taken legal action as a last resort, although we hope it can be settled without a court hearing," he said.

The college, which has 35,000 students, admits it owes money. Alan Hodgson, director of administration, said: "We told the council two years ago that we owed it money. The council has suddenly woken up to it, and has attempted to calculate what is owed in a way that is not accurate or appropriate."

The college refused to give its estimate of the sum owed, in advance of a likely court case, or what the impact on courses and jobs would be were it to lose the case.

"The figure is substantially less, and our response will be lodged within eight weeks," Mr Hodgson said. "But we hope too that this whole thing can be settled before it reaches court, and we will continue to have talks with the council."

Among other cases which have led to legal action, Birmingham City Council won a claim for Pounds 1.6m against Birmingham College of Food, Tourism and Creative Studies. The college is to appeal to the House of Lords with a counter-claim for an alleged unpaid Pounds 7m European funding.

Four other Birmingham colleges are also in dispute, including East Birmingham and South Birmingham colleges, which are said to owe around Pounds 1m each, North Birmingham (Pounds 500,000), and Sutton Coldfield (Pounds 250,000). Halton College in Cheshire last month lost its fight to claim money it said was owed by the county council.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now