Letter: TECs' report to Shephard

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Sir: The claim in your article "Youth trainers offer ministers political help" (24 September) that the TEC National Council has offered political help to the Government in return for budgetary support is false.

Your article quotes selectively from an early draft of a document which has not in fact been sent to the Secretary of State. The council has written recently to Mrs Shephard and the two key statements to which you object do not appear in the final correspondence. Nowhere in that letter does the council speak of "the failure of the school system", or of TECs seeking to "confound Opposition claims" on anything.

Nor does the council complain to the Secretary of State about previous budget levels - the letter merely argues that enrolments in TEC programmes are increasing and we wish to be sure that TECs can meet this growing demand.

TECs have quite properly communicated to the Secretary of State the latest performance figures on their programmes of work, and do also intend to see that those performance figures are widely disseminated to the public. This is not electoral strategy - it is simply that at this time of year the confirmed performances data for 1995-96 become available, and the first-quarter results for 1996-97 are known. If TECs are to be accountable to their communities - an issue The Independent supports - reporting on their performance is a key part of this process.

CHRIS HUMPHRIES

Director of Policy and Strategy

TEC National Council

London SE1

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