councillors attack £3m adult learning funding cut
town councillors have this week hit out at the government's decision
to make £3m of funding cuts which have led to scores of adult
education courses being postponed across the county - including
in the town.
provider Somerset Skills and Learning (SS&L) is facing a funding
gap following the cutbacks, as we first
organisation, which has a centre in Burnham-On-Sea's Princess Street,
employs about 200 people, and provides courses to 10,000 people.
formerly known as Somerset Skills and Learning, has been given just
£111,000 by the government to last from this November until
July next year. Typically it receives about £3m for the period.
matter was discussed at a meeting of Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge
Town Council's Town Projects Committee this week.
councillor Phil Harvey said: "This has come as a great shock
to SS&L's clients here in Burnham and across Somerset. There
has been a huge cut in their government grant which puts the continuation
of their service in question."
is clearly no way that the Town Council can pick up the cost to
save them, so lobbying the government is the key."
Kate Lawson added: "It's an absolute travesty that this funding
has been cut. The vocational courses in Burnham are so important
to helping people get into work, grow their confidence, and also
help to improve mental health."
centre plays an important part in people's lives, whatever their
age. Alternative services are available in Weston and Bridgwater
but will people travel there from Burnham-On-Sea?"
part of Somerset County Council, SS&L became a separate social
enterprise in August 2015. The not-for-profit company was set up
and run by the staff who were part of the council.
website currently offers
252 courses, however a statement has been posted about the cutbacks,
stating: "Due to government funding cuts we are not accepting
enrolments for leisure and interest courses at this time. Our Apprenticeship
& Traineeship programs and GCSE Maths & English are still
running as usual. We hope to open our other courses again soon."
offers a range of training courses at 10 centres across the county,
including in Burnham-On-Sea, from apprenticeships to adult education
MP James Heappey was
among four local MPs who held an emergency meeting earlier this
month with the Skills Minister to try and reverse a massive £3.3
million funding cut imposed on community education provider Somerset
Skills and Learning. Talks are ongoing on the 97 per cent cut.