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Unions call for urgent action to save college building projects

UCU and UNISON have today (Thursday) called for urgent action from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to save college building projects. The unions have written to the LSC calling for an urgent meeting after reports emerged that 79 colleges in England risk losing large sums of money as a result of delays in funding for building projects. The unions are appealing to the LSC for exact details of which colleges will be affected and the length of any delays. UCU Head of Further Education, Barry Lovejoy, said: 'Colleges' ability to deliver education and training will be vital to any efforts to lift the country out of recession. We need buildings that are fit for purpose and many of our colleges are in need of urgent repairs. Where that work has been agreed it must be completed and we are seeking an urgent meeting with LSC to find out exactly what is going on. We cannot have a situation where uncertainty about any aspect of a college's future spills over into other areas of its activities and its ability to delivery its core functions.' Chris Fabby, UNISON National Officer for Further Education said: 'Colleges need to know where they stand so they can continue to educate students. It cannot be right that colleges that were given approval in principle now face the risk of losing large sums of money due to funding uncertainty. The government has bailed out the banks, and they must act now to protect students. Over the past ten years hundreds of further education colleges have been updated, and thousands of students have benefitted. It is rich of the Tories to criticise the building project. Investment on this level was necessary because of the chronic underfunding of the sector when they were in power.'

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