Concerns for FE funding after Treasury announces £900m in-year BIS and DfE budget cuts

The future of FE funding looks uncertain after £900m of additional cuts to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Department for Education (DfE) were announced by the Treasury.

The cut is part of a raft of in-year savings amounting to £3bn across most government departments outlined by the Chancellor George Osborne in Parliament today.

Under the planned savings, BIS and the DfE will each have to cut £450m, with FE highlighted by the Treasury in its announcement as a planned source of savings.

The news has sparked concerns and speculation on twitter, with some sector leaders predicting a “destructive” impact on FE funding.

Mr Osborne said: “I am today announcing that the government will begin selling the remaining 30% shareholding we have in the Royal Mail.

“It is the right thing to do for the Royal Mail, the businesses and families who depend on it – and crucially for the taxpayer.

“Further savings in departments this year – and selling our stake in the Royal Mail.

“Getting on with what we promised.

“Reducing the deficit – that is how you deliver lasting economic security for working people.

“For as everyone knows, when it comes to living within your means, the sooner you start the smoother the ride.”

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  1. graham burton

    more cuts in Fe means more job loses and no coause to retain the staff in other jobs as the colleges will not be running course for adults to go on.

  2. FE Lecturer

    If they are looking at FE as a planned source of savings I think they can look forward to a large rise in the number of NEETS and the failure of the dream of 3 million apprenticeships.
    It is sad to see that the leaders of this country see FE as dispensible, but spending on foreign education (via foreign aid) as essential and indeed ringfenced. In fact spending on this has been increased.

  3. Elizabeth

    The Conservative Party’s election manifesto was clear, that if elected they would cut funding for “lower level, classroom based Further Education courses” and it is no secret that the Chancellor, George Osborne, and others in HM Treasury do not understand or value Community Learning.

    Now that the Conservatives will no longer be restrained by any coalition partners and the sector has lost a high profile and influential advocate for Adult Education in Vince Cable we should not be surprised, when £210 million of the £450 million cuts required is the removal of the Community Learning budget. The rest of the savings are likely come, if the Conservatives are true to their word, from further reductions to classroom based learning funded through the Adult Skills Budget.

  4. Cynical Person

    Is this why SFA Apprentice & Traineeship growth request results due out this week have delayed? If so it is bizarre given the government’s ambition for 3M Apprentices!

  5. Whilst it is clear that the Government must do all it can to operate within an increasingly constrained budget, the level of cuts for non-apprenticeship further education funding is a significant drop for colleges and training providers. This will inevitably make it harder for further education providers to meet the needs of their current and future students. These cuts could also have an impact on adults who require new skills for work, a likely scenario for millions who will have to change their career at least once if they keep working until retirement age. All political parties should seek to find a consensus that retains as much as possible of this important part of the education framework. This will ensure that the UK workforce has the skills businesses require today and tomorrow to grow Britain’s economy.