'Reckless' agency threatens college rebuilding scheme

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The future of a government scheme to rebuild England's colleges has been left hanging in the balance by the "reckless" behaviour of the agency in charge, according to MPs.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) was berated for building up expectations that it could not meet, and for its "serious failures" in managing the programme. About 144 colleges saw their building projects frozen by the LSC in December after the money ran out. A report by the Commons Public Accounts Committee found that the LSC had approved building projects for 79 colleges which required funding totalling almost £2.7bn more than the LSC could afford. "The Council was reckless in allowing colleges' expectations of financial support to build to levels far in excess of what the Council could afford," said the report. The MPs said there is now "considerable uncertainty" about the future of the programme. Pat McFadden, the Skills minister, said: "Ministers have already made improvements to ensure rigorous management."