MP Reed speaks out against £500,000 cuts to Croydon College

Steve Reed, the MP for Croydon North, has described government plans to cut £500,000 of funding for 18-year-olds attending Croydon College as “completely misguided”.

Croydon College“These students are trying to improve their education and make themselves more employable and I cannot understand why the government is singling them out in this way,” Reed said.

Reed spoke in a debate at the House of Commons yesterday against proposals to reduce funding for 18-year-olds in further education. Neither Croydon Central’s MP, Gary Barlow, the self-proclaimed “liberal Conservative”, nor Croydon South’s spineless Tory “Sir” Richard Ottaway, bothered to attend the debate.

Croydon College takes a far higher proportion of 18-year-olds compared to the national average and so will suffer greater impact from the cuts than elsewhere. Many of the 18-year-old learners at Croydon College tend to be from more deprived backgrounds, are less likely to have achieved the same educational standards as other 18-year-olds and, particularly in Croydon, are likely to come from non-white British backgrounds: 69 per cent of Croydon College’s 18-year-olds come from ethnic groups other than white British, compared to 20 per cent nationally.

“Croydon North has a higher rate of youth unemployment than any neighbouring constituency and also very high levels of poverty and disadvantage,” Reed said during the debate in the Commons.

“Many of my younger constituents attend Croydon College, trying to better themselves and make themselves more employable. And yet, for Croydon College, the proposed cuts are particularly acute.

“The financial impact on Croydon College is upwards of £511,000, a higher percentage of the College’s total budget than elsewhere because of the higher proportion of students who will be affected. The College inform me that this is the highest percentage reduction in funding of any college in the sector,” Reed said.

“Given the level of deprivation that many of these students live with, and how hard they are trying to turn their fortunes around, cuts on this scale are a bitter blow that will severely damage our community as a whole.”

The education minister, Matthew Hancock, said that he would look into cases raised in the debate where the impact appears most severe, including Croydon.

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