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Senior Conservative backbenchers urged the Chancellor to use the spring statement to invest in colleges.

Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Education Select Committee chair Robin Walker and former environment secretary George Eustice are among 12 MPs to sign a letter urging Jeremy Hunt to pump £400 million into colleges so they continue to offer a wide range of courses.

There are 163 further education colleges in England, which provide technical courses to 1.6 million adults and young people each year.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Government spending in 2024-25 on 16 to 18 college students will be around 5% below 2010-11 levels and funding for adults taking classroom-based courses will remain 40% below 2009-10 levels.

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