Nearly 130 MPs have now signed a motion opposing the ending of funding for the part time degree courses used by many of you to acquire or update the skills you need in order to remain employable.
Early Day Motions arouse feelings among MPs similar to petitions to Number 10. It is the quality of the signatures that count. Those signed by respected MPs from all parties have influence. When the number of signatures approaches half the house, Government climbs down rather than face the prospect of a mandatory debate and vote.
It does not happen often but 127 members, (from all parties and including labour loyalists and ex-ministers from this Government as well as from the opposition) have now signed EDM 317:
“That this House is concerned that the Government’s decision to withdraw funding from institutions for equivalent or lower qualification students will have a disproportionate impact on the part-time sector in general and on specific institutions such as Birkbeck and the Open University; and urges the Government to consider ways in which it can minimise the damage this measure will do to lifelong learning and the delivery of the Leitch agenda objectives.”
This is the proposal to which I referred in my blog on “Walking backwards into the future. It is, however, only one of a number of equally “introspective” proposals between put forward by departments and agencies as they seek to protect their sacred cows from decimation during the Comprehensive Spending Review. Another is the plan to cut 450 jobs from SOCA to save less than 1% of what DWP alone is said to be losing to organised and systemic fraud.
The answer entails political activity, however modest, on the part of those whose jobs and pensions depend our retaining a world-class and regularly re-skilled ICT workforce, rather than contracting the heart of our economy to India and China..
Has your MP signed?
If so write and thank them – letters of thank-you are so rare that they have particular impact.
If not – write and ask them if they are aware of the damage these cuts will do, let alone the message they send.
Either way, you might add a comment about the SOCA cuts and the need for savings to be made where there is flab to be cut – not where the overall cost to taxpayer will be far greater than the nominal department or agency saving.
You might also wish to draw their attention to the recent report of the Treasury Select Committee on the Comprehenvive Spending Review and the need for joined up accountability to accompany joined-up service agreements.