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Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff has called on the government to do all in its power to save the county’s brain injury education service provided at South Worcestershire FE College in Evesham. He warns its closure would cause “outrage” across the county.

He has challenged the Further Education minister, Kevin Brennan during an evidence session of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, which he chairs, spoken to representatives of the Learning and Skills Council and written to the minister calling on him to intervene.

During the evidence session earlier in the month, Peter said to the minister,

“Yesterday I received a letter from the principal of South Worcestershire College and I want to read brief extracts from it:

“We are now facing a cut of more than £½ million in our funding for adult students as our adult learner-responsive budgets will shrink by 25%.”

“It goes on:

“However, the most serious impact of the 25% cut in our funding is the complete withdrawal of funding for the acquired brain injury education service. Over 120 adults from across Worcestershire who have suffered stroke or brain injury from accidents attend the centre. They are the college’s most vulnerable learners. Their chance of living a fuller and productive life often depends on the benefits they are learning at the centre. However, their learning has been determined by the LSC to be non-priority and will not be funded from September 2010. We are now faced with the prospect of the closure of the centre and the end of a 26-year service to Worcestershire’s adults with acquired brain injuries.”

“I have seen the work of the centre myself and it is some of the most moving stuff I have ever seen in my life as a constituency MP. I have no doubt that if this college were given the discretion to spend its money as it chose for adult services it would spend it on the acquired brain injury centre. I understand the language of priorities and we will have to talk a lot more about it in the next few years with the pressures on public expenditure. I also understand the need to have a central policy which drives people into first qualifications and apprenticeships. Equally, there must be some room for local discussion. I believe there will be absolute outrage in Worcestershire when the consequences of this particular decision become public as they now have been effectively by my telling you this.”

In reply, the minister, Kevin Brennan, said that he would look into the issue immediately.

Commenting, Peter said,

“I cannot believe such an important service will be allowed to close as a result of government policy. I will do all in my power to save a service that does such remarkable things for such vulnerable people.”

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