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Monday, 10 February 2014 (3048346)
'I'll do all I can to protect town's colleges' - Clegg
by Ollie Cowan

THE Deputy Prime Minister has promised to do all he can to protect both KGV and Southport College from Government spending cuts.

Nick Clegg was quizzed by students in the resort last week (Friday February 7) in a special visit to the Scarisbrick New Road College.

Students from both KGV and Southport College turned out in their hundreds to grill Clegg in a question and answer session in KGV's Learning Resource Centre.

The Deputy Prime Minister spent 45 minutes fielding a range of questions from a combined group of students from the two resort colleges.

Top of the agenda for discussion was the controversial subject of tuition fees and how the government plans to protect education establishments from blanket government cuts.

In a one to one talk with the Champion following the Q&A Nick told our reporter: “We spoke on a range of topics; about tuition fees, about Syria, political philosophy and I was trying to give as full and as faithful a set of answers as I could possible give.

”I thought the questions were incredibly well informed and very challenging so Jeremy Paxman eat your heart out!

“Colleges like KGV and Southport are really important because they offer routes either to further education or work.

”At a time when youth unemployment is high - having the ability to give our youngsters the right stepping stone to start off well in life is so important.

“The core funding for schools, despite all the savings we have had to make, is something we have fully protected and in fact we have added to it.

”We have put a lot of money into schools that educate pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds in the form of the Pupil Premium.

“It does mean that Colleges are having to make savings as is everyone - but I do hope that KGV and Southport can see their way through this difficult time because they play such an essential role in society.”

The Deputy Prime Minister also took the opportunity to praise the work of Southport's own MP John Pugh - who Nick hailed as a “fantastic representative”.

He told The Champion: “I'm a huge admirer of John who is not only a very popular member of the local constituency but has one of those rare abilities to be listened to attentively and respectively but MPs from all political parties.

”People should rightly be very proud of their MP - he's a very authoritative voice for them in Westminster as well as a fantastic campaigner and I very much look forward to and hope that John will be returned to represent Southport for another five years after 2015.“

Speaking after Nick Clegg's visit, KGV College Principal Adele Wills told The Champion: ”It was fantastic to witness so many students engaging in political debate with the Deputy Prime Minister.

“Our students certainly didn't give him an easy ride - I was very pleased with the amount and style of questions he was asked.

”This was a brilliant event for KGV, Southport College and Southport as a whole.

“We feel very privileged to have hosted such a high profile visitor.”


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