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Andrew Selous: I am grateful to the Minister for giving way generously again. The college has no quibble
20 Jul 2005 : Column 1378
over the application of the formula by the Learning and Skills Council other than the fact that the Department directed it to do so. I have no doubt that the Government's own criteria were applied fairly, as instructed. The fact remains that that is pretty cold comfort to a college that has had an £833,000 cut in its budget, even though it did exactly what the LSC asked it to do all the way through from 2003, including significant growth in its 16-to-18 provision. I do not feel that the Minister has yet dealt with those issues.

Phil Hope: I do not want to remind the hon. Gentleman, but in 2003 the college received £1.8 million in exceptional funding to deal with the financial difficulties that it had experienced historically. When the formula operated and the priorities were applied, it was recognised that there would be an impact on the college. As a result, this year it received £233,000 more than the formula would have allocated to it. The overall reduction in the college's budget is £150,000, or 2 per cent. I accept that that is a reduction, but it shows that efforts have been made at a local level to understand the situation.

Andrew Selous: I appreciate that the Minister is a very busy man, responsible for every college in the country. I do not expect him to know the figures in detail, but I wonder whether the officials who have briefed him for this debate realise that the college faces a total net cut of £833,000. I do not see a recognition of that in the numbers that the Minister has quoted.

Phil Hope: This is a matter for discussion and negotiation at a local level with the LSC—which the hon. Gentleman's party would have abolished, of course. The figures that I have given were provided by the LSC, and they show the college's real position. The college and the LSC have made real and positive efforts to ameliorate the college's difficulties in this matter.

I have emphasised that the Government do not want courses that people value to close, whether they are used by individuals or employers. It is right that the Government should focus resources, and that is why our funding contribution to the basic cost of courses outside the priority areas has been reduced. The amount that the taxpayer provides for those courses has been cut from 75 per cent. of the costs to 72.5 per cent. The changes in funding are not merely technical matters; they are the first step in a necessary change of culture and expectations, in which the value of learning, and the benefits that it brings to learners and employers, is properly recognised as a worthwhile and necessary investment.

Colleges around the country have chosen to waive more than £100 million, at their own discretion, so that they can offer free or reduced-cost provision. I understand that Dunstable college's uncollected fees amounted to around £500,000 in 2003–04. Some colleges face a transitional period in this respect, but others are managing well. For example, I understand that nearby Barnfield college generates nearly £1.5 million a year from frees.

I recognise that waiving fees may help raise participation, but in time a decision not to collect potential income must impact on both quality and
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financial stability. There is therefore a strong case that those fees must be collected. We recognise that colleges need support in that, and we are committed to working with the sector to that end. For example, we have a good practice guide on fee income to assist colleges to collect fees.

Earlier, the hon. Member for South-West Bedfordshire quoted the AOC. I should like to refer to a briefing from the National Institute for Adult and Continuing Education. The briefing stated:

That shows that there is support for the transition outside the Government.

Andrew Selous: Again, I am most grateful to the Minister for giving way. I want to press him again specifically on fees. Is he seriously saying that he believes that Dunstable college can raise an extra £500,000 in fees from its current student population? I am assured by the principal that that is not possible.

Phil Hope: I was pointing out that this is a matter for the college, the principal, the governing body, the LSC and the hon. Gentleman, as the local the Member of Parliament, to discuss and debate. If a college chooses not to collect fees, that choice has consequences. I understand that colleges make those choices, but they must live with those consequences. Other colleges charge and collect fees, rather than choosing to waive them, and therefore have that income at their disposal.

I want to try to deal with one or two of the hon. Gentleman's other questions before we close, as time is now very short. I think that one of his questions was about demand for 16 to 19-year-olds being fully funded. The Learning and Skills Act 2000 provides the guarantee that all 16 to 18-year-olds have an entitlement to education or training. So we have ensured that places are available in school sixth forms, at further education or sixth form colleges, or on apprenticeships as a top priority, and that the funding to do so has been made available to the LSC.

The LSC has been equally clear in its guidance to local LSCs that funding for young people is a priority and that budgets should reflect that. The reality is that most colleges receive significant increases in their 16-to-18 budgets. An extra 10.3 per cent. or £240 million has been provided nationally for that group of learners. I realise that time has caught up with us and that I will not able to answer all the questions that the hon. Gentleman asked—

The motion having been made after Seven o'clock, and the debate having continued for half an hour, Mr. Deputy Speaker adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned accordingly at sixteen minutes past Eight o'clock.

20 Jul 2005 : Column 1380

Deferred Division

Access to Justice

That the Revised Funding Code prepared by the Legal Services Commission, a copy of which was laid before this House on 27 June, be approved.

The House divided: Ayes 224, Noes 184.

Division No. 46


Ainger, Nick
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Mr. David
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Austin, John
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Balls, Ed
Banks, Gordon
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Begg, Miss Anne
Benn, rh Hilary
Berry, Roger
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blair, rh Mr. Tony
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Bryant, Chris
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clarke, rh Mr. Tom
Clelland, Mr. David
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cooper, Yvette
Crausby, Mr. David
Creagh, Mary
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cunningham, Tony
Darling, rh Mr. Alistair
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, Mr. David
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Ennis, Jeff
Farrelly, Paul
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, Caroline
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Goggins, Paul
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hanson, Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Henderson, Mr. Doug
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khabra, Mr. Piara S.
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Knight, Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mactaggart, Fiona
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall, Mr. David
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCafferty, Chris
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McCartney, rh Mr. Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh Mr. John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGrady, Mr. Eddie
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, Edward
Miller, Andrew
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Morgan, Julie
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, Mr. George
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Olner, Mr. Bill
Osborne, Sandra
Owen, Albert
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, James
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Ryan, Joan
Salter, Martin
Seabeck, Alison
Sheridan, Jim
Simpson, Alan
Slaughter, Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, rh Jacqui
Smith, John
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, David
Tipping, Paddy
Touhig, Mr. Don
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, Ms Rosie
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, David
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek


Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Baron, Mr. John
Barrett, John
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Bercow, John
Binley, Mr. Brian
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brake, Tom
Brokenshire, James
Brooke, Annette
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Bruce, Malcolm
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Alistair
Burt, Lorely
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Campbell, Mr. Gregory
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clegg, Mr. Nick
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Curry, rh Mr. David
Davey, Mr. Edward
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice and Howden)
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Donaldson, Mr. Jeffrey M.
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Duddridge, James
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Featherstone, Lynne
Field, Mr. Mark
Foster, Mr. Don
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Mr. Christopher
Gale, Mr. Roger
Gauke, Mr. David
George, Andrew
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gove, Michael
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Harvey, Nick
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heath, Mr. David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Holmes, Paul
Horam, Mr. John
Howard, rh Mr. Michael
Howarth, David
Hughes, Simon
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hunter, Mr. Mark
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Keetch, Mr. Paul
Kennedy, rh Mr. Charles
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lamb, Norman
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Laws, Mr. David
Leech, Mr. John
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McCrea, Dr. William
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Oaten, Mr. Mark
Öpik, Lembit
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Price, Adam
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, Mr. John
Reid, Mr. Alan
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Robinson, Mrs. Iris
Robinson, Mr. Peter
Rogerson, Mr. Dan
Rowen, Paul
Russell, Bob
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swinson, Jo
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Teather, Sarah
Thurso, John
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Walter, Mr. Robert
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Williams, Hywel
Williams, Mark
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Wilson, Sammy
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Wright, Jeremy
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard

Question accordingly agreed to.

20 Jul 2005 : Column 1382

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