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Tories attack 'severe' cuts to apprenticeship providers

The Tories have slammed the Government over its plans on training, claiming apprentices were losing their places because of cuts in Whitehall funding.

At Commons question time, shadow skills secretary David Willetts told the house that training providers had warned “severe” cuts could force them to cancel existing apprenticeships.

Mr Willetts asked: “Why is it that providers are approaching us to warn that funding cuts for next year are so severe that they cannot be confident even of being able to maintain the apprenticeships that they have already taken on, let alone meeting the Government’s ambitious targets for more apprenticeships?”

He called for a national “clearing house” to help young workers whose training had been cut find someone else to help them complete their apprenticeships.

But skills secretary John Denham said: “So far as the funding for apprenticeship training is concerned, there should not be an issue of training providers being unable to pay for or receive funds for completion of people currently in training.”

He said apprentices in the construction industry were able to continue training even if they did not have an employer.

Mr Willetts called on the Government to scrap plans, estimated to cost £140 million, for a shake-up of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills’ quangos and reinvest it directly into apprenticeships.