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LSC slashes £111.8m from 13 college projects

The 13 college projects rescued by emergency Government funding have been slashed by £111.8 million.

Delivery body the Learning and Skills Council last week announced that 12 of the 13 projects were now approved, with talks still continuing with Manchester College.

But contractors in line to carry out the work can expect a squeeze on their incomes after the estimated total cost of the 13 was reduced from £585.8m to £474m.

The new total amounts to a 19 per cent squeeze on previously agreed construction costs. And the amount could still come down further following the Manchester negotiations.

An LSC spokeswoman said: “The 13 projects originally amounted to £585.8m. The newly negotiated grant costs are around £474m.

“This figure is still variable because of the continuing negotiations with the Manchester College which our National Council is seeking further clarification on aspects of the proposals.”till variable because of the continuing negotiations with the Manchester College.”

The 12 colleges approved for funding are Barnsley, Bournville, Furness, Hartlepool, Kirklees, Leyton Sixth Form, North West Kent, St Helens, Sandwell, South Thames College, West Cheshire and Tresham Institute of Further and Higher Education in Corby.

A proposal for Manchester College’s development of its Wythenshawe campus is still to be finalised, with the LSC adding it expects to make an announcement in the near future that the project will proceed.

LSC chief executive Geoff Russell said: “This has been a tough and challenging process, but the Building Colleges for the Future programme is moving forward.”

In addition to the 12 approved projects, the LSC will support the development of Skelmersdale and Ormskirk College in Lancashire, which will go forward to the approval process including a value for money challenge.

The LSC said this was a separate case that was agreed before the recent prioritisation exercise.