Cuts to apprenticeship funding will be ‘devastating in deprived areas’, Labour MPs say

The 55 MPs warn the cuts will be devastating in deprived areas

Fifty-five Labour MPs have written to ministers to ask them to rethink sharp cuts to inner-city apprenticeship funding handled by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).

In a letter seen by The Independent, the Labour MPs warn the cuts will be “devastating in deprived areas”, which many of them represent.

The funding changes will take effect from May 2017 and will see apprenticeship funding for 16-18 year olds from the SFA slashed by 30 per cent, with estimated 50 per cent cuts in the most deprived areas of the country.

The SFA cuts will also fall on some apprenticeships where there are skills shortages, such as in housebuilding. An analysis originally undertaken by trade magazine FE Week found that level 2 apprenticeships in construction were among those facing between 27 per cent and 52 per cent cuts dependent on location.

Tottenham MP David Lammy, the organiser of the letter, said the Government “talk a good game” on social justice but was in fact slashing programmes for people trying to improve their life chances with hard work.

“These cuts are a direct attack on social mobility and a direct attack on the life chances of working class kids,” he said.

“The Government talk about social justice and helping people from disadvantaged and low income backgrounds to get on in life, but time and time again they take from the poor and give to the rich.

“Further education and skills provision in this country has already been decimated over the last six years and it is totally wrong that this Government continue to see apprenticeships as the poor cousin to higher education”.

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