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Industry bosses criticise Construction College move

Industry leaders have written to The Times to complain about the Government’s decision to withhold funding for construction of a new National Construction College.

Leading figures, including Tony Douglas of Laing O’Rourke, Rick Willmott of Willmott Dixon and Stephen Ratcliffe of the UK Contractors Group, wrote in their letter: “This is a difficult time for the construction industry, which typically contributes 8 per cent of GDP to the UK’s economy. We are, therefore, seriously concerned about the Learning and Skills Council’s recent decision to withhold capital funding from the National Construction College East based in Norfolk.”

The college is now in an “extremely precarious position”, it said, and students were being taught in facilities which are now 70 years old: “It is hard for us to view this decision as anything other than a withdrawal of support by the Government for an industry that underpins the national economy and that will help to support the country out of recession.”

It calls on the Government to overturn the decision.

The Learning and Skills Council’s withdrawal of funding for dozens of colleges up and down the country has led to widespread criticism. Only 13 are now going ahead and even those progressing are being expected to slash costs.