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 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.