The situation regarding the LSC college rebuilding programme borders on the unbelievable. It appears that the Learning and Skills Council gave the go-ahead to roughly three times the value of the schemes as there were funds available. This is a disaster of the first rank, with colleges up and down the country committed to works and now with no money to carry on with their projects. Normally I am the first to blame the government for this sort of screw-up, but this one does seem to have been made in quango-land, and the head of the LSC has got the boot as a result. This chap was on a salary of £230k, if you believe it. At least they didn't give him a bonus.
We were relying on this funding for the New Campus Basildon college in Basildon Town Centre, and so that is now on hold, like just about every other scheme up and down the country, while the programme is reviewed. However, we do think that in any sensible review Basildon should get the green light again. It is a simple fact that our educational outcomes for 16-19 year olds are not good enough when compared to other similar communities. Our current further education providers are not collectively providing enough of our young people with the aspiration, motivation and qualifications that they need. As you would expect we are lobbying hard for the new college, which represents not only an opportunity for education, but for the rebuilding of a key part of Basildon Town Centre.
We shall see what happens.