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UCU welcomes Jeremy Corbyn's call for investment in further education

15 November 2017 | last updated: 17 November 2017

UCU has welcomed a call from Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn for the chancellor to use next week's budget to invest in infrastructure, technology and training.

Speaking at the Association of Colleges' conference, Mr Corbyn said it was time for the government to halt cuts to education and end decades of under-investment, which have led to a productivity crisis in the UK economy.

The leader of the opposition's call comes after the further education sector united to call on Philip Hammond to deliver to ensure a 'stable and well-resourced further education sector' which can meet different needs and ambitions.

In a letter to the chancellor, trade unions, students and other organisations from the further education sector warned that cuts have reduced the availability of learning opportunities for young people and adults, leading to the loss of over a million adult learners and thousands of staff from the sector in recent years.

It goes on to welcome additional spending on technical education, but says that investment in technical learning alone is not sufficient to reverse the impact of these cuts or to meet the country's skills needs.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: 'Theresa May and Philip Hammond need to deliver a Budget that offers hope to people who want to get on in life and earn crucial new skills. Cuts to further education have closed off vital learning opportunities, putting a cap on aspiration for too many people.'

Mr Corbyn also said that cuts to funding for English for speakers of other languages (Esol) have left the sector in 'a dangerous state of disrepair'. He highlighted a survey from Refugee Action that found that some people are now waiting three years just to get English classes and this made it 'abundantly clear that we need a more proactive approach.'