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Troubled Halton faces lay-offs;FE Focus

HALTON College may have to lay off 60 staff and repay millions of pounds as a result of the investigation by the Further Education Funding Council into financial irregularities.

Acting principal John Bolton announced the cost-cutting programme this week at a series of meetings with staff. The Cheshire college will attempt to make a pound;1.5 million saving through deferring vacancies, reducing staff development and capital purchases but Mr Bolton did not rule out the possibility of redundancies.

He said: "Over the next few weeks discussions will take place with all the involved parties to make the achievement of this savings target as painless as possible. However, because of the huge savings required, a reduction in staff numbers of up to 60 is, unfortunately, a very probable outcome."

The Further Education Funding Council's report into allegations of financial irregularities at the college, where principal Martin Jenkins and his deputy Jenny Dolphin were suspended in May, is now expected to be published at the beginning of March.

Mr Bolton said that the college had agreed to pay the FEFC "several million pounds" because of over-payments in the past.

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