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Written Statement - Welsh Government Summary of Responses  to the White Paper – Further and Higher Education (Wales) Bill 2013

Leighton Andrews, Minister for Education and Skills

On 2 July 2012, I issued a White Paper to seek views on proposals for a Further and Higher Education (Wales) Bill.  I am today 06 March 2013 issuing a summary of the responses to the White Paper. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who responded to the White Paper. I have been encouraged by a broad base of support for the proposals.

The proposals for further education are informed by the Office for National Statistics’ decision to reclassify colleges as part of Central Government for the purpose of National Accounts.  Through proposals set out in this White Paper the Welsh Government will use this legislation to reverse the reclassification.

With regard to higher education I have asked my officials to undertake further analysis and development of the White Paper proposals. I will bring forward provisions relating to higher education reform through legislation later in this Assembly term.

The Bill will also include a provision to allow data sharing for the supply of information to be used for the operation of the student grants and loans regulations from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Custom (HMRC) (verification of household income). This forms part of the project to modernise the delivery service for Student Finance Wales by creating an end-to-end service delivered by the Student Loans Company.  

The Further Education provisions and HMRC Data Sharing will go forward as legislation to be introduced in the spring of 2013.