This week, the Chancellor delivered the autumn statement which has seen the government set out a series of economic changes to try and drive growth in our economy. The Prime Minister has been clear that he wants to take difficult longer, longer-term decisions that seek to address the challenges facing our country. By the time you read this article the contents of the statement will be in the news but, as I write this at the beginning of the week, I do not yet know what to expect.
There are, however, several key priorities that I believe would help to support families and our communities over the coming 12 months where I have been making the case in recent months. These include helping support families with children under the age of five by having a transferable tax allowance so that if one parent decides to stay home with their young child, their tax allowance can be used by their partner. The absence of such a family-friendly policy was a major omission from the Budget earlier this year.
I am also making the case for increased funding for practical, applied skills delivered through our FE Colleges like Cornwall College. The Prime Minister has already stated that he firmly sees a key to future growth and prosperity in delivering a world-class education system. I believe that FE colleges will play a vital part in this. One of the levers that I believe the Chancellor should pull is to make FE colleges VAT-exempt.
In November last year, the Office for National Statistics reclassified colleges and their subsidiaries into the central government sector, changing their status to similar to that of an academy. However, while schools and academies are VAT-exempt, FE colleges are not. I am calling on the Government to match its ambition with the funding it deserves and remove the VAT burden colleges face to bring clarity and consistency. This will provide a significant increase in funding to help deliver a new generation of skilled workers and prove we are serious about growing the economy.