Adult Skills Budget in line for 19 per cent funding cut

The government’s Adult Skills Budget is facing a cut of 19 per cent by 2016, the long-awaited Skills Funding Statement (SFS) has revealed.

The document, which was expected following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in December, was released today.

It shows that the Adult Skills Budget will fall from its current rate of £2.467bn to £2.004bn by 2016, a cut of more than £463m, or 19 per cent.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock has also announced that government funding will be extended to all apprenticeships after the failed application of the FE loans scheme to the programme for over 24s.

Mr Hancock confirmed that apprentices over 24 would be removed from the scheme, and the SFS document confirms that loans already issued will not have to be repaid.

He said: “The newly-available loans for FE have seen a high level of demand, however, loans for apprenticeships have not seen the same uptake.

“We will therefore remove apprenticeships from loans and offer a government contribution for all apprenticeships while continuing to expand the loans budget to deliver training on the ground.

“We are working hard to make sure that the skills system is both rigorous and challenging, meeting the needs of individuals, employers and the wider economy.

“Our continued focus on high quality provision will support learners to give them the skills they need to succeed in a modern workforce.”

Other changes in the document include the extension of the government traineeships scheme to 24-year-olds, and the introduction of a monthly limit to “strengthen the rigour” of a funding cap for learners introduced last year.

Download the BIS Skills Funding Statement 2013-2016 here