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Skills council cuts apology

PUBLISHED: 16:37 15 April 2009 | UPDATED: 16:32 25 August 2010

THE government has apologised for its incompetence after promising money to colleges before slashing their budgets.

THE government has apologised for its 'incompetence' after promising money to colleges before slashing their budgets.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) slashed £718,000 of funding for Bexley's colleges despite promising only 30 days earlier they wouldn't.

Now LSC chiefs claim the reason for the cuts is because more teenagers are going to college than they expected.

Headteachers already began budgeting for the year ahead after receiving a letter from the LSC on March 2 informing them of their 'final budgetary allocation'.

But then another letter was sent out on March 31 informed them that their budgets were going to be cut from the day after, April 1.

Bexley schools councillor Simon Windle said: "Whatever the truth of the situation, there is no denying that the LSC have shown themselves to be incompetent.

"Not only does 'final' mean last, end and concluding but schools have to set a budget by March 31 for the next financial year.

"If sending a letter on that day is considered acceptable, then naivety can be added to incompetence.

"It is probably pie-in-the-sky to expect that their further letter later this month will offer any more money for colleges."

A spokesperson for the LSC said: "It is clear that our letter of March 2 to schools has caused them confusion and concern, for which we apologise.

"The letter set out that there were ongoing discussions with the Department and that further checks needed to be done. However, it was misleading to say that these were final rather than provisional allocations.

"We have a statutory requirement to give schools an allocation by the end of March. Discussions across government are continuing on what extra support is needed for these young learners, and in the meantime we have made an interim allocation based on the increased funding set out in the Annual Statement of Priorities. This was in our March 31 letter."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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