Budget Day protesters lobby MPs at Westminster over cuts to adult Further Education
PUBLISHED: 17:44 18 March 2015 | UPDATED: 19:55 18 March 2015
Hundreds of tutors and students lobbied MPs at Westminster today in protest at 24 per cent cuts to adult Further Education colleges as the Chancellor was delivering his Budget speech in the Commons.
They arrived in coachloads from colleges across London—organisers estimated at least 500 protesters turning up.
A large group arrived from east London, from Tower Hamlets and Hackney Community colleges, where adult learning courses in English as a second language have been badly hit by budget cuts year-on-year since 2010.
The east London tutors and students met their two East End Labour MPs, Jim Fitzpatrick and Rushanara Ali, for a meeting in Parliament’s Committee Room 11. The MPs urged them to keep the pressure up in their campaign to reverse the cuts.
One lecturer told the MPs: “The crisis was caused by the bankers who it has been shown had lied, cheated and swindled a great many customers.
“Our students are paying the price of a corrupt banking system.”
Other speakers at the meeting included MPs Caroline Lucas and Jeremy Corbyn and University & College Union’s Sally Hunt, as well as Tower Hamlets College principal Gerry McDonald and Hackney Community College principal Ian Ashmanth representing the Association of Colleges.
The campaigners also plan a protest rally in Westminster on March 25 to hand in a petition to 10 Downing Street, organised by the Association of Colleges, with 18,000 names.
The petition calls on the Prime Minister to reverse the 24pc cuts that the association fears “will devastate adult education” in Britain, which has already lost a million learners in the past five years.