Red Ken's bid is just capital

24th March 2006 at 00:00
Rumour has it that London mayor Ken Livingstone has all but won his bid to take control of the capital's training agenda from the Learning and Skills Council.

But he is unlikely to be thrilled about it, as he may be restricted to the most problematic and expensive post-19 beat. Ministers are not happy to let go of any 16-19 territory while they are debating the Education and Inspection Bill and the pending FE white paper.

Nevertheless, hopefully the cash-starved colleges and adult learning institutions will see Red Ken set an example to the rest of the nation by restoring funding for leisure education. After all, when colleges were last under his wing, with the Greater London Council and Inner London Education Authority, they boasted some of the finest free or inexpensivenon-vocational courses.

The final decision on Ken's bid has still to be made but, either way, it will cause controversy. The timing is therefore of much interest. It is expected to come somewhere between Easter and the local government elections in May.

But copycat leaders of other regions can think again. A source close to the Department for Education and Skills said: "If it happens, it's definitely a one-off.It would happen because London has an elected Mayor."

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