Havering Council’s slashing of the cash hand out to Havering College of Further Education, Hornchurch, will result in a brain and money drain from the borough, claims the chairman of the College Governing Body.
The chairman Councillor Terry Booton, warns that an additional cut of £15,000 in the college grant will write “finish” to some courses and restrict others.
And local businessmen fear day release courses for trainees may suffer, leaving them unable to fulfil apprenticeship schemes.
Working on the bare necessities, the college needs £10,000 if it is to get through the next financial year without severe restrictions on courses, says Councillor Booton.
In an exclusive interview with the Echo, he said: “if we don’t get the money some courses and parts of others will have to be stopped. The education standard must suffer badly. “Students will have to go outside the borough. Not only will there be a brain drain, but also a money drain.
“If we send students outside Havering we have to pay other authorities. And the chances are it will cost us a heck of a lot more. “Say, for instance, a course costs us £500 to run for a pupil, it could well cost us £1,200 in neighbouring boroughs.” The decision to close or restrict some courses may be taken at an emergency meeting of the Governing body to be called soon.
Local industry and commerce will be the hardest hit. About 90 per cent of the students are on day release courses from their firms. Big concerns, like Stones, of Romford, are worried that the retail display course may be one of the sufferers. Students may have to travel to Ipswich to continue training. The original estimate submitted to the Finance and Law Committee by the college was £265,000. This was cut, and cut again to £256,000.
In the Education Committee Councillors tried to reduce it by a further £15,000, but were finally persuaded by Councillor Booton to leave it in. Voting was 14-13. At the final meeting of the Finance Committee before the rate fixing. Councillor Norman Richards, Education Committee chairman, produced further cuts to the draft estimates and the £15,000 was taken out again.
Councillor Richards argued in council on Wednesday, that savings could be made in other expenditure and there would be no serious effect on the college. He suggests that things like the £200 for the library could be used in another direction, and that £4,000 could be taken from the Capitation Allowance of £9,500 which is used to buy materials and equipment for students. “This is just not possible,” retorts Councillor Booton. “The Capitation Allowance at the moment probably won’t last the year. “In some cases stuff we bought last year is 12.5 per cent dearer now.”
Surprise £1,000 offer to Social Service
An offer of £1,000 to save the council of Social Service from folding up was made by Havering’s Mayor, Ald. Bill Sibley at an emergency meeting at H.O.P.W.A. House on Friday.
Addressing the meeting of more than 25 charity organisations, the chairman Mr. Roy Hammond, said: “The blow fell in January when we were very cruelly surprised that we had not got our grant for 1968-1969. A delegation from the council of Social Service is to be sent to the council this week, a question is down for the Civics Conference and letters have gone out to councillors and 22 charities.
Ald. Sibley told the meeting: “It has been said that there is opposition to this but I want to dispel any rumours. Everyone is in favour of the Council of Social Services, but cutting the grant was a purely financial effort taken this year. “It is nothing to do with politics, but you can’t go sticking on 2/6d here and there on the rates.
“I believe that if we can keep the Council of Social Services going for one or two years we can get the Council to give another grant.” On Friday offers of help had come from the Upminster drama group, the Chameleons. North Romford College of Adult Education and Havering Technical College. Gidea Park Methodists and the Havering Consumer Group have also volunteered assistance. Ald. Bill Sibley in offering to raise £1,000, said: “If I am going to put myself out for this I like to think that you are putting yourselves out too.”
Mayor of Havering, Alderman Bill Sibley had hecklers removed from the public gallery at Wednesday night’s Council meeting. All the way through the rate meeting there were shouts of “shame” and “humbug” from the gallery.
Alderman Sibley warned several of the public on two occasions that if they did not be quiet they would be asked to leave. Then, while Councillor Norman Richards, chairman of Education, was speaking against a labour group amendment the shouting began again. Councillor Richards was called the Scrooge of Havering and Alderman Sibley asked some of the public gallery to leave. When he threatened to have them forcibly thrown out one man shouted: “I pay my rates. I help pay for what chain you are wearing.” Eventually four men were escorted from the building.