Chesterfield MP and Shadow Skills Minister Toby Perkins has written to the Education Secretary to urge her to act to stop college building projects being scrapped.

Following the Office for National Statistics (ONS) decision to reclassify further education colleges as public bodies, the Department for Education (DfE) wrote to colleges to inform them that projects to upgrade or construct new buildings which involve borrowing from the private sector have been suspended.

However, Ministers have not identified any alternative funding to ensure that building projects could go ahead.

The ONS decision had been widely expected as there had been a major review throughout 2022. Despite this, the government failed to put a strategy in place for building projects which have taken years of planning and were close to fruition.

It means that colleges like Kendal College in Cumbria, which planned to redevelop the local disused Westmorland Shopping Centre into a state-of-the-art new town centre campus, have had their college building projects pulled at the last minute.

The Association of Colleges said at least 20 colleges had to ask for borrowing approvals in December and “many more are in the queue waiting for an ESFA verdict in the spring”.

Toby stated “I’ve written to the Education Secretary urging her to urgently investigate the situation with Kendal College. I’ve since been told off-the-record about other college building programmes which are also at risk unless the government intervenes quickly.

I have also asked her to reveal how many colleges will be affected by her decision, and what her strategy will be for resolving this issue.

This failure to plan for an outcome that was predicated and predictable and then to respond by blocking much-needed building projects is typical of the approach of this Tory government.

This is why a new approach under a Labour government can’t come a moment too soon to get Britain moving again”. You can read Toby’s letter at

Toby Perkins MP
Toby Perkins MP
Link to Instagram Link to Twitter Link to YouTube Link to Facebook Link to LinkedIn Link to Snapchat Close Fax Website Location Phone Email Calendar Building Search