Cuts could lead to fewer learning opportunities for adults

11 February 2014

NIACE has responded to announcements of public funding levels for further and high education in England during 2014/16, outlined in the Skills Funding Statement and the annual grant letter to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

Following the announcements, NIACE’s Chief Executive, David Hughes, said:

“This is undoubtedly a tough settlement, although many of the details were announced in last year’s spending round. In that respect it is less bad than many had feared. NIACE called on the Deputy Prime Minister to ensure that opportunities for those who had benefitted least from their initial education should be protected at all levels, from literacy and numeracy all the way to higher education. We are pleased that he and the Secretary of State, Vince Cable, have managed to do this.

“There will be an unwelcome shrinkage in publicly supported provision, but we are relieved that in the rhetoric at least the government is very supportive of maintaining wider access and progression throughout the system.

“The danger though is that by pushing responsibility for deciding cuts onto individual providers, overall coherence in the system will be lost and adults will not have the opportunities they need to get on in learning.

“There is a need for LEPs, local authorities and employers to work with further and higher education providers to ensure that local economies get the skilled people they need and adults benefit from their learning.”