ASCL responds to PAC report on college finances

27/01/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to the report of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee on the financial sustainability of colleges.
 
Responding to the report of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee on the financial sustainability of colleges, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“This report lays bare the mismatch between the government’s warm words about the importance of further education and its abject failure to support the financial health of colleges.
 
“Colleges do a fantastic job in providing the skills training the government regards as an economic and educational priority, alongside vital academic qualifications, for many young people and adults.
 
“However, the rate of funding per learner has been woefully inadequate for many years and this has resulted in the financial fragility that is highlighted by the Public Accounts Committee.
 
“It is galling that the government seems to be incapable of taking even the relatively modest step of lifting the burden of VAT payments from colleges as is the case in schools.
 
“And it is astonishing to learn from this report that the Department for Education believes that the Treasury does not see this issue as a priority.
 
“The government needs to join up the policy dots so that its public pronouncements about the importance of further education and skills are supported by sufficient funding.
 
“Warm words don’t pay the bills. It needs to put its money where its mouth is.”