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Gordon has spoken at Labour’s Party Conference to warn of the danger FE and HE providers across Lancashire could face from the loss of EU funding post-Brexit.Labour_list.jpg

He gave his views at two Conference fringe events on the impact of Brexit to Higher and Further Education and said Theresa May’s new Government needed to reassure these institutions that the same levels of funding would still be there to compensate for the loss of European money.

Gordon said: “FE institutions such as Blackpool and the Fylde College, have in the past benefited from the European Social Fund, which has enabled them deliver local community based projects. This has provided excellent learning and research opportunities for students, as well as supporting hundreds of high skilled jobs, which in turn have helped the North West economy.

“Our very own Blackpool and Fylde and College, as well local universities like UCLAN in Preston and Lancaster are rooted at the heart of their communities. It is these communities that will suffer if this Tory Government fails put in place measures that will compensate for the loss EU funding following Brexit.

“Tory Ministers claim funding will be guaranteed if bids are submitted before the Autumn Statement in November. However with heavy cuts, there are big question marks around the Government’s capacity to administer this in such a short time frame.”

Gordon said the Government’s decisions to also raise tuition fees and scrap maintenance grants, would not help students especially from disadvantaged backgrounds in Blackpool, and warned they were now facing an increasingly “unclear” future in Higher Education.

He added: "There are many students doing degree courses and many more who would like to at Further Education Colleges like at Blackpool and Fylde. Theresa May should match Labour’s commitment to restore the grants, which would benefit thousands of students from Blackpool - many of them studying locally or either at other universities across the North West in places like Manchester and Liverpool.”

Gordon explained that Labour’s plans to restore grants for disadvantaged students were fully costed and would be paid for by a 1.5 per cent rise in Corporation Tax.

 

“Unclear” future post-Brexit for Higher and Further Education institutions across Lancashire says Gordon

Gordon has spoken at Labour’s Party Conference to warn of the danger FE and HE providers across Lancashire could face from the loss of EU funding post-Brexit. He gave his...

Gordon has used Labour’s Party Conference in Liverpool to call on Theresa May’s new Government to radically rethink their approach to lifetime learning, ensuring people in Blackpool have the skills and support to equip them for the modern jobs market.SMF_Event.jpg

Speaking at a Conference fringe event in Liverpool hosted by the Open University and Social Market Foundation (pictured), he said the Tories urgently needed to make lifelong learning a priority. “This is not just an economic priority for towns like Blackpool. It’s also a question of enabling people’s life chances, a moral challenge for people to have the chance to fulfil their potential.

Gordon, who is currently challenging the Government for Labour as their new Higher Education and Research Bill is being scrutinised in Parliament, said there was “minimal” reference to lifelong learning at the moment in the Bill. He warned the UK and local learners would fall further behind other countries if this wasn’t addressed.

He said: “As a former Open University tutor myself I know first-hand how crucial lifelong learning and part-time learning is to changing people lives for the better. If this new Tory Government is serious about social mobility, they need to reverse the 58% decline there has been in such activity over the past four years. I and my Labour colleagues have already made practical proposals for the Bill to give greater priority to lifelong learning. But the Government is resisting these and instead still has plans to make £360 million worth of cuts to the adult skills budget.

“We cannot afford to fall behind on this. It is disadvantaged people in places like Blackpool, who have had their grants scrapped and are now being offered expensive loans, whose opportunities and life chances will suffer.

“Whilst it is right to focus on increasing apprenticeships, especially in getting more of these into Blackpool with small businesses, Labour believes we also need to fund other forms of retraining and skills, especially for older workers.”

Gordon, also heard from a range of University, college and Businesses representatives at a fringe breakfast meeting about their fears that Government is failing post-Brexit guarantee to guarantee their funding, which could be lost for retraining and skills from the EU.

“I am concerned about their lack of confidence in the Government and its very vague promises as to how millions of pounds which currently come to places like Blackpool under the European Social Fund will be safeguarded. Losing this and the knock on effects to cutting edge research, which brings in millions of pounds for the North West, would have a detrimental effect on jobs and new businesses across Lancashire.

“I will continue to demand that Government ministers need to address these bread and butter issues urgently, rather than playing a pass the parcel process over Brexit.”

Gordon warns Government about lost skills and training funding

Gordon has used Labour’s Party Conference in Liverpool to call on Theresa May’s new Government to radically rethink their approach to lifetime learning, ensuring people in Blackpool have the skills...

Gordon has said the Government should do more to support smaller airports like Blackpool's - calling on them to look "very practically" at ways in which they can bring down the costs of operations for smaller airports.GM_2.jpg

He said they (the Government) should look at subsidies to help airports like Blackpool, saying that it would benefit both the owners and the airport’s future economic prospects.

Gordon, who visited Blackpool Airport back in April, said: “There remains I believe good prospects with a committed owner for the future of the airport, both for passenger flights and also expanded commercial activity via the new Enterprise Zone.

“In my previous role last year as Shadow Aviation Minister, I urged the previous Government to look very practically at ways in which the cost obligation on smaller airports like Blackpool could be reduced with Government intervention.

“It is unreasonable that smaller airports like Blackpool should have to equal their costs on security and other requirements, as airports elsewhere such as Liverpool and Manchester with at least six or seven times as many passengers a year. The millions of pounds currently being spent by Government as a subsidy for new one-off flight routes, if some of that were spent on subsidising operator costs for an airport like Blackpool, that would benefit the owners and the airport’s economic prospects.

“So I repeat my call for the new Government to do something about our operational costs. Local Conservatives would do better to lobby their ministers on such a project, rather than going over a futile past debate on who was right or wrong in the spat between Balfour Beatty and Jet2.com .”

 

Gordon calls on Government to do more to support smaller airports such as Blackpool's

Gordon has said the Government should do more to support smaller airports like Blackpool's - calling on them to look "very practically" at ways in which they can bring down the...

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