Thursday, 2 April 2015

Cuts to college funding show how out of touch this government has become.

Stoke-on-Trent College has announced that it will lose £2.5 million in in funding used to provide adult skills training.

The cuts will have an impact on areas including skills for employment training, courses for students learning English as an additional language and training for trade union reps as with the college’s trades union studies centre set to close.

The cuts also mean 117 members of college staff are at risk of being made redundant.

Jan Zablocki, North Staffs Green Party parliamentary candidate for Stoke Central, a long standing trades union activist with the CWU said the closure of the trades union studies centre represented ‘a further blow to support for trades union activists and a sign of the decline in trades unionism in general, something governments of the left and the right had done little to prevent over the past forty years.’

The Green Party believes in creating a ‘culture of hope’ and a society that values our ‘common humanity’, lifelong access to education is one of the ways in which we can go about doing so.

The party opposes the privatisation of further education and in government would seek to prioritise training in the skills necessary to build a low carbon economy. It is also committed to reforming apprenticeships for 16 to 25 year olds, bringing back the Education Maintenance Allowance for 16 to 17 year olds and to widening participation in education for people of all ages.

Locally access to good quality training and further education is an important part of rebuilding the economy of Stoke-on-Trent in a way that prioritises the creation of jobs in environmentally friendly industries these cuts risk trapping people in insecure, poorly paid jobs because they have been denied the chance to realise their full potential.

A spokesperson for North Staffs Green Party said: ‘I am shocked by the size of the cut in funding and very concerned about the damage that could be done as a result.’

The spokesperson went on to say the cuts were, ‘further evidence of the perverse priorities the coalition government has shown during its five years in office,’ adding that ‘money has been wasted on Trident and tax cuts for millionaires whist services depended on by working people have been cut. That just shows how out of touch with reality they are.’

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