Burnley MP slams funding cuts

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Burnley’s MP Julie Cooper has slammed the government’s latest proposals to change the funding of apprenticeships which would, she says, hit Burnley hard.

The Government (via the Skills Funding Agency) published has proposed funding levels for apprenticeship starts, beginning fro May 1st, 2017, onwards with analysis showing that proposed funding for 16-18 year old apprenticeships will be cut by around 30%, rising to 50% for apprentices living in the most deprived areas.

In contrast, funding for older apprentices living in affluent areas and working for large employers/providers is set to go up across the board.

Julie Cooper, MP for Burnley, has reacted angrily to the proposals and announced her intention to challenge the Minister concerned about the announcement.

Mrs Cooper said: “I was appalled to hear about the proposed funding rates for apprenticeships.

“After years of brutal austerity cuts that have hit people living in the most deprived areas hardest year after year, I am now particularly concerned about the removal of the ‘disadvantage uplift’ for an apprentice living in a deprived area. So much for Government’s pledge to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, and the Prime Minister’s promise to “help anybody, whatever your background, go as far as your talents will take you” not to mention her promise to create a country and economy that “works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us”.

If ever proof were needed that those words were just empty rhetoric, here it is.

I am particularly concerned that the impact of these funding cuts will be devastating in Burnley where unemployment rates are already above the national average, especially when taken in combination with the scrapping of maintenance grants to support young people from low income backgrounds who hope to go onto higher education.