Tories 'would cut education budget'

SIR - The letter College disappointment (Yours Sincerely last week) is absolutely right - the incompetence of the management of the Learning and Skills Council in building expectations for the relocation of North Devon College which they cannot deliver is

SIR - The letter College disappointment (Yours Sincerely last week) is absolutely right - the incompetence of the management of the Learning and Skills Council in building expectations for the relocation of North Devon College which they cannot deliver is a body blow to Barnstaple and the regeneration of the area.

The fact that �6 million has already been committed to feasibility studies and bid preparation just goes to show the lunacy of the current system in advance of gaining LSC funds or even planning permission from the local council, the latter providing the public a formal opportunity to express its views as to whether a former landfill site on a flood plain is the optimum solution.

However, as your correspondent later identifies himself as the Conservative PPC for North Devon, his case is fatally flawed in being long of rhetoric, but silent when it comes to setting out their alternative funding approach.

Not surprising really when Conservative front bencher Andrew Lansley MP has let the cat out of the bag by admitting that any incoming Tory administration would cut the Education budget by at least 10 per cent, making it impossible to honour present building commitments let alone take on any new.


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Nor does he spell out the consequences for our secondary schools and colleges that are currently bidding to be included in the Bulding Schools for the Future programme in places like Chulmleigh, Ilfracombe and Pilton that the Tories would axe if they get their hands on the levers of power.

In its place they imagine that affluent local businesses will sponsor a re-build, or maybe a wealthy charity or church will do the same. Hardly likely in the current recession - or even for the foreseeable future one would think.

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We should not forget that in the long years of the last Tory Government that precious little was spent on new school and college buildings across North Devon and that it was only with the Liberal Democrats in charge at County Hall that major investment in our children's future has been made in places like Chulmleigh and Ilfracombe to start to replace clapped-out buildings.

Undoubtedly, with the economy in the state that it is, hard choices will need to be made over future expenditure. For someone who would like to be taken seriously as a potential MP, warm words may suit some, but hard facts will impress more.

Cllr Joe Tucker,

(NDDC, Marwood Ward).

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