Experts will keep Chancellor’s £4.1bn training pot from crooks

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Ministers pledge ‘robust measures’ to prevent Chancellor’s £4.1bn for training being plundered by bogus providers

Ministers have pledged ‘robust measures’ to prevent the Chancellor’s £4.1billion for training being plundered by bogus providers. 

Acknowledging misuse of similar funds in the past, officials have drafted in experts to ensure the enormous increase in outlay on skills and apprenticeships is spent as intended. 

The Chancellor unveiled an extra £2.5billion in his March Budget ‘to improve the technical skills of adults across the country’. On July 8, he announced a further £1.6billion for skills and apprenticeships. 

Monitoring: Ministers have pledged ‘robust measures’ to prevent the Chancellor’s £4.1billion for training being plundered by bogus providers

The area has proved a honeypot for fraudsters for decades. In the early 2000s, it emerged that £97million of Labour’s Individual Learning Accounts had been abused – more than a third of the £273million pot, £67million to outright fraud. 

Non-existent students were invented and money claimed on their behalf or near-worthless training was provided by unscrupulous operators. 

The privatisation of the Government’s Skillcentres in the 1990s was criticised when the firm that bought them failed. 

The Youth Training Scheme, launched in 1983 with a budget of £1billion, was also plagued with tales of shady operators. 

‘We are committed to ensuring all public funds are well spent and distributed fairly,’ the Department for Education said. ‘This includes putting robust measures in place to prevent any financial misconduct.’ 

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