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Trust funding

The funding regime that dominated colleges for almost a decade will be scrapped within four years - and few will regret its passing. It was imposed to regulate the activities of managers when colleges were removed from local authority control in 1993. But its real effect was to create a wasteful pound;250 million-a-year mountain of red tape and paperwork.

A bureaucracy-busting task force wants to replace it with a regime built on trust. Far-reaching recommendations will be swiftly acted on (see page 35).

Action cannot come too soon. Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary, this week announced a record pound;1.2 billion for colleges over three years. Bureaucracy would have swallowed more than half the cash to no real benefit. Instead, it can now be spent on urgent priorities: partnerships with schools, support for disadvantaged students and the tough task of getting half of all young people into higher education.

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