The Southport Visiter deserves praise for taking the initiative and launching a petition about the KGV VIth College funding crisis. John Pugh MP has been on the case and raised this matter in Parliament. I think it is important that everyone gets behind the petition.
Writing in The Visiter John Siddle says:
KING George V College today thanked the Southport Visiter for leading a campaign calling on the government to release £40m it had promised for a dream rebuild.
On Friday, we launched a Downing Street petition demanding Gordon Brown delivers on a pledge to transform the town’s flagship college.
College chiefs were given a green-light to transform the Scarisbrick New Road campus into a world-class learning facility by the government-backed Learning and Skills Council (LSC).
They then spent £2m of taxpayers’ money in preparation of anticipated building work.
But their visionary plans were last week left hanging by a thread after the cash- strapped LSC suddenly scrapped the scheme.
The Visiter is continuing to call on the town to sign the petition, while the college has circulated an email to all staff and students asking for them to back our campaign.
KGV marketing director Tony Langan said: "We are really grateful for the backing the Visiter has given the college and the support it is showing.
"We are delighted such a strong local presence has launched a key campaign over the predicament we find ourselves in.
"We are very grateful."
Alumni of the college have rushed to the Downing Street website to sign the petition.
Richard McCulloch, 24, left KGV in 2003.
He said: "It’s a no-brainer to sign this petition. The government, via the LSC, promised the college much-needed money to bring it into the 21st century and those responsible need to be held to account."
A total of 79 college improvement schemes were given "approval in principle" only for it to emerge that the £2.3bn pledged did not exist.
Just 13 colleges will receive some form of funding.
Unsuccessful institutions – like KGV – will be reconsidered in 2011, but by then Britain will be in the grip of a squeeze on capital spending, raising serious questions about whether the scheme will ever go ahead.
Visiter editor Andrew Edwards said: "The money may be available in two years’ time, but there will be a general election before then, so who knows what will happen.
"We urge you to sign the petition and get Mr Brown to take positive action."
To sign our petition, visit http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/kgvfunding