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Collab Group Statement on Conservative Capital Funding Announcement

We welcome the announcement from Boris Johnson that the Conservative Party promises to invest £1.8 billion in capital funding for further education colleges. While this figure is below the £2 billion suggested in the Augur review into post-18 education, it does represent a significant investment in further education colleges. It also appears that colleges will be expected to contribute 21% from their own reserves to receive any capital funding. If this is the case it does raise questions about how this will impact long term financial sustainability when colleges may potentially become more indebted to provide this match funding.

We have identified the need for capital investment as one of our four key priority areas for colleges in this general election. Capital funding for the FE sector from government has fallen from over £940 million in 2009/10 to just £130 million per year at the present time. An injection of capital and funding will be vital as college prepare to deliver T levels from September 2020 onwards. But the important part is not just the money available but also the mechanism with which this money flows into colleges. Current arrangements where the administration of capital funding is delegated to local enterprise partnerships has not always worked well for colleges. So it will be important that any injection of capital funding is distributed through a mechanism that finds the right balance between both local and national priorities.

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