A cross-party letter has been signed by 164 MPs and handed to the chancellor demanding an above inflation increase to FE funding in the upcoming spending review.

Co-authored by Conservative MP Richard Graham and Labour MP Nic Dakin, the letter tells Phillip Hammond that “while government policy has protected the incomes of schools and universities, colleges have been dealt an average funding cut of 30 per cent over the last ten years”.

“We believe this constraint on FE resources has had an impact on the teaching, courses and above all opportunities for young people and skills of all ages,” it adds, and describes FE as the “Cinderella” of education spending.

The letter, which was given to Mr Hammond by Mr Graham and Gloucestershire College principal Matthew Burgess on Friday, was backed by 89 Conservative MPs and 72 Labour MPs, as well as two Liberal Democrat MPs and one Green Party MP.

It adds that the chancellor’s departmental spending review is a “chance to announce an above inflation increase which would boost skills, productivity and social mobility”.

The letter follows two high-profile campaigns to boost FE funding over the last year – Raise the Rate and Love Our Colleges.

Both are calling for funding for all 16 to 19-year-olds to increase to £4,760.

Funding for 16 and 17-year-olds has been frozen at £4,000 per student since 2013, while per-student funding for 18-year-olds was cut to £3,300 in 2014.

The campaigns have been gathering momentum in recent weeks and led to over 50 MPs taking part in a Westminster Hall debate in January when members from all sides of the House of Commons called for an end to six years of real-term FE funding rate cuts.

After signing the letter, Mr Dakin said: “From my years as a college principal, I know how important this issue is. Our colleges are the engines of social mobility, transforming the prospects of our young people and delivering the skills our local businesses want.

“It is vital that the government invests in our colleges.”

James Kewin, deputy chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, said: “This year’s spending review is a pivotal one for colleges so we are pleased that so many MPs are backing calls for an increase in funding.

“If the government is serious about improving social mobility and increasing productivity, raising the funding rate for 16 to 18 year olds should be one of the Chancellor’s main priorities.”

The Association of Colleges chief executive, David Hughes, added: “There is now very strong cross-party support for the 2.2 million people who study and train in FE colleges each year. It’s vital the government helps those tasked with helping to solve the skills gap.”

Main image: Richard Graham MP handing over the cross party letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond beside Gloucestershire College principal Matthew Burgess

The 164 MPs that back the call for more FE funding:




Lib Dem


Richard Graham MP – Gloucester
Jack Dromey MP – Birmingham, Erdington 
Wera Hobhouse MP – Bath
Caroline Lucas MP – Brighton, Pavilion
Alex Chalk MP – Cheltenham
Christian Matheson MP – City of Chester 
Vince Cable MP – Twickenham West Derby
Sir Roger Gale MP – North Thanet
Lillian Greenwood MP – Nottingham South
Robert Courts MP – Witney
Nik Dakin MP – Scunthorpe
Philip Davies MP – Shipley 
Wes Streeting MP – Ilford North
Ben Bradley MP – Mansfield 
Diana Johnson MP – Kingston upon Hull North
Mark Garnier MP – Wyre Forest
Anna Turley MP – Redcar
Peter Aldous MP- Waveney
Melanie Onn MP – Great Grimsby
Andrea Jenkyns MP – Morley & Outwood 
Lisa Nandy MP – Wigan
William Wragg MP – Hazel Grove
Louise Haigh MP – Sheffield
Damien Moore MP – Southport
Gareth Thomas MP – Harrow West
Sir Nicholas Soames MP – Mid Sussex
Dan Jarvis MP – Barnsley Central
Martin Vickers MP – Cleethorpes
Karl Turner MP – Kingston upon Hull East
 Jeremy Lefroy MP- Stafford
Jeff Smith MP – Manchester, Withington
Will Quince MP – Colchester 
Stephen Timms MP – East Ham
Charlie Elphicke MP – Dover 
Lucy Powell MP – Manchester Central
Scott Mann MP – North Cornwall 
Chi Onwurah MP – Newcastle Upon Tyne
Richard Drax MP – South Dorset
Ruth Cadbury MP – Brentford & Isleworth
Mark Prisk MP – Hertford & Stortford
Vernon Coaker MP – Gedling
Maria Caulfield MP – Lewes
Daniel Zeichner MP – Cambridge
Dr Sarah Wollaston MP – Totnes 
Alex Cunningham MP – Stockton North 
Neil O’Brien MP – Harborough
Paul Blomfield MP – Sheffield Central
Dr Julian Lewis MP – New Forest East
Alex Sobel MP – Leeds North West
Dame Caroline Spelman MP – Meriden
Jonathan Reynolds MP – Stalybridge & Hyde
Andrew Percy MP –  Brigg and Goole
Stephen Kinnock MP – Aberavon
Boris Johnson MP – Uxbridge & South Ruislip 
Dr Alan Whitehead MP – Southampton, Test 
Sir Robert Syms MP – Poole
Shabana Mahmood MP – Birmingham, Ladywood 
Philip Dunne MP – Ludlow
Andy Slaughter MP – Hammersmith
Marcus Jones MP – Nuneaton 
Rosie Duffield MP – Canterbury
Sir Hugo Swire MP – East Devon
Seema Malhotra MP – Feltham and Heston 
Laurence Robertson MP – Tewkesbury
Rushanara Ali MP – Bethnal Green & Bow
Neil Parish MP – Tiverton and Honiton
Liz Twist MP – Blaydon
Sir Henry Bellingham MP – North West Norfolk 
Clive Efford MP – Eltham
Maria Miller MP – Basingstoke
Luke Pollard MP – Plymouth, Sutton & Devonport
Julian Sturdy MP – York Outer
Sharon Hodgson MP – Washington & Sunderland West
Andrew Selous MP – South West Bedfordshire 
Karyn Smyth MP – Bristol South
Stephen Metcalfe MP – South Basildon & East Thurrock 
Kate Hollern MP – Blackbum
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP – The Cotswolds  
Karen Buck MP-Westminster North
Bim Afolami MP – Hitchin & Harpenden 
Richard Burden MP – Birmingham, Northfield 
Damian Collins MP – Folkestone and Hythe
Liam Byrne MP – Birmingham, Hodge Hill 
Jacob Rees-Mogg MP – North East Somerset
Helen Goodman MP – Bishop Auckland
Simon Hart MP – Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire  
Roberta Blackman-Woods MP – Durham
Daniel Kawczynski MP – Shrewsbury and Atcham 
Stephen Twigg MP – Liverpool
Andrew Lewer MBE MP – Northampton South  
Thelma Walker MP – Colne Valley
Mark Menzies MP – Fylde
Eleanor Smith MP – Wolverhampton South West
Damian Green MP – Ashford
Stella Creasy MP – Walthamstow
Anne Marie Morris MP – Newton Abbot
Mohammad Yasin MP – Bedford
Pauline Latham  MP – Mid Derbyshire 
Alison McGovern MP – Wirral South
James Gray MP – North Wiltshire
Emma Lewell-Buck MP – South Shields
Zac Goldsmith MP  -Richmond Park
Anneliese Dodds MP-Oxford East 
Ian Liddell-Grainger MP – Bridgwater & West Somerset 
Paul Williams MP – Stockton South
Gordon Henderson MP – Sittingbourne & Sheppey 
Matt Western MP-Warwick and Leamington
Chris Green MP – Bolton West
Afzal Khan MP – Manchester, Gorton
Conor Burns MP – Bournemouth West
Rosie Cooper MP-West Lancashire
Andrew Griffiths MP – Burton and Uttoxeter  
Bambos Charalambous MP-Enfield, Southgate
Mark Pawsey MP – Rugby 
Marsha De Cordova MP-Battersea
Anne Main MP – St Albans
Yasmin Qureshi MP – Bolton South East 
Anna Soubry MP – Broxtowe 
Grahame Morris MP – Easington
Robert Halfon MP – Harlow 
Julie Cooper MP – Burnley
Giles Watling MP – Clacton 
Alex Norris MP-Nottingham North
Crispin Blunt MP – Reigate
Thangam Debbonaire MP – Bristol West
Bob Stewart MP – Beckenham
Jared O’Mara MP – Sheffield, Hallam
Royston Smith MP – Southampton, ltchen 
Jack Dromey MP – Birmingham, Erdington
Marcus Fysh MP – Yeovil
Naz Shah MP – Bradford West
David Tredinnick MP – Bosworth
Vicky Foxcroft MP – Lewisham, Deptford
Nick Boles MP – Grantham and Stamford 
Gill Furniss MP – Sheffield, Brightside, and Hillsborough
Michael Tomlinson MP – Mid Dorset and North Poole
Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi MP – Slough
Antoinette Sandbach MP – Eddisbury
Faisal Rashid MP – Warrington South
Kevin Hollinrake MP – Thirsk and Malton
Catherine West MP – Hornsey & Wood Green
Eddie Hughes MP – Walsall North
 Yvonne  Fovargue  MP – Makerfield
Dan Poulter – Central Suffolk & North Ipswich
Steve McCabe MP – Birmingham, Selly Oak
Heidi Allen MP – South Cambridgeshire
Mary Glindon MP – North Tyneside
Gillian Keegan MP – Chichester
Iain Duncan Smith MP – Chingford and Woodford Green
James Heappey MP- Wells
Anne Marie Trevelyan MP – Berwick-upon-Tweed
 Rebecca Pow MP – Taunton Deane
Tracey Crouch MP – Chatham & Aylesford 
Henry Smith MP – Crawley
Bill Cash MP – Stone
Sheryll Murray MP – South East Cornwall
Nigel Mills MP – Amber Valley
Mike Penning MP – Hemel Hempstead
Craig Mackinlay MP – South Thanet
Sir Bernard Jenkin MP – Harwich & North Essex
Keith Simpson MP – Broadland
Andrew Bridgen MP – North West Leicestershire
Nadine  Dorries MP – Mid Bedfordshire
Steve Double MP – St Austell & Newquay


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