City MP calls on Government for better support for Portsmouth colleges

The Portsmouth born MP has warned the government that if they do not increase funding for college students then there will be severe consequences.

Speaking in the ‘raise the rate’ Westminster Hall debate today Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Over the last 10 years, colleges have had to deal with average funding cuts of 30%, and soaring costs…they are an essential cog in their route to University, for others they provide access to technology and skills that form the foundations of their future careers.”

The city MP has called on the government to increase the funding rate from £4,000 to £4,760 per sixth form student. The amount that they currently receive is substandard and 18-16-year olds currently receive less than any other age group.

Mr Morgan stressed the impact of the government’s poor judgement in this case:

“In the last 10 years, qualifications in health and social care have fallen by nearly 70%, the same for engineering and plumbing. But perhaps most significantly, IT qualifications have fallen by almost 90%. “

Mr Morgan said that the lack of funding could threaten national security in the future as the lack of people doing IT courses could result in our workforce being less equipped to deal with cyber security breaches.

The Portsmouth MP has not been alone in his calls on the government to address this matter, several leading experts have raised the matter alongside him. Including Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman. On the matter she said:

“I am firmly of the view that the government should increase the base rate for 16 to 19 funding in the forthcoming spending review”.

Mr Morgan cited his own time at Portsmouth College and the recent meetings he has had with Principal Simon Barrable as his reasons for championing this cause. Mr Morgan said that sixth form colleges weren’t just good for individual progression but also social mobility.

On the matter he said:

“Located both geographically and symbolically at the heart of our communities, colleges are a driving force when it comes to social mobility.”

Mr Morgan plans to continue to apply pressure to the government as part of his Portsmouth Against School Cuts campaign launched last year. After the debate he said:

“Education is something we cannot afford to take chances with, Brexit is dominating discussion right now but I will not let the people of Portsmouth lose out because of it”.