FENLAND: Labour spokesman rejects claims college decision was for political reasons

PUBLISHED: 14:00 30 June 2009 | UPDATED: 09:08 02 June 2010

Peter Roberts.

Peter Roberts.

LABOUR S Parliamentary spokesman for North East Cambridgeshire has rejected claims that funding decisions for new colleges had been taken for political reasons. All 13 of the college projects that will receive Learning and Skills Council funding are in La

LABOUR'S Parliamentary spokesman for North East Cambridgeshire has rejected claims that funding decisions for new colleges had been taken for political reasons.

All 13 of the college projects that will receive Learning and Skills Council funding are in Labour-held constituencies.

The link sparked outrage from North East Cambridgeshire MP Malcolm Moss, and the Leader of Fenland District Council, Councillor Geoff Harper.

In response, Labour spokesman Peter Roberts said: "I, like most people in Fenland, am incredibly disappointed that funding has not been secured for the College of West Anglia following the mismanagement by the Learning and Skills Council.

"I wholehearted reject claims that the choice of the 13 projects that will receive funding has been on political grounds.

"For several weeks I was in close contact with John Denham MP, the then Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills through his Special Advisor and was assured that priority was being given to the areas experiencing the most deprivation, where the money would make the most impact.

"I passed on all the additional details of the College of West Anglia application and the concerns of the Principal, David Pomfret.

"However, with the news that the total funding had to be stretched even further, it comes as little surprise that the few schemes that were successful are in Labour-held Parliamentary seats, since in general they tend to be areas of greatest deprivation. The correlation should not be confused with causation."

Mr Roberts said he "appreciates" the need for the college, and is committed to working hard to try and secure funding for the project in the medium to long-term future.

He added: "I hope that other local politicians will make the same pledge, instead of stating one thing in Fenland for political capital and voting the polar opposite in Parliament.


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