From education to employment

What a hung parliament means for Further Education

With the election results confirming the predicted hung parliament, the fight is still on for the main parties to form a government.

Both Labour and the Conservatives will need to woo the Liberal Democrats, as well as the smaller parties if they are to have any hope of keeping control of parliament.

This will, of course, lead to a compromise on policies that is likely to affect all areas, including Further Education.

All three major parties have issued manifestos detailing significantly different interpretations on how best to take FE forward.

As the party with the most seats after last night’s – and this morning’s – count, the Conservatives still have the possibility of trying to run a minority government.

This will allow them to push through policy that has general support from minor parties, as well as the Liberal Democrats, much more easily than Labour.

For example, both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats agree over the scrapping of FE quangos, so an agreement between the two parties could easily see these removed.

However, it may have problems with some of its other initiatives, such as the proposal to delay the Research Excellence Framework.

While these issues may not ultimately decide who forms the government, policy on education and FE could prove to be areas of significant agreement between any coalition parties.

Richard Lang

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