Page last updated at 13:00 GMT, Saturday, 27 June 2009 14:00 UK

College cutbacks trigger protests

Tower Hamlets College
The college serves some of the country's poorest communities

Protestors have staged a demonstration opposing plans to cut jobs at an east London college which serves some of the UK's most deprived communities.

Students and staff from Tower Hamlets College in Poplar insist the cuts, including plans to close 25 full time posts, will have a devastating impact.

The protest was held at the Museum Gardens in Bethnal Green, east London.

Union leaders have vowed to bring the college to a standstill on Friday after voting in favour of a one-day strike.

'Vital lifeline'

The college announced the proposals to staff in a consultation document earlier this month.

Managers are facing cuts by the Learning and Skills Council, which is responsible for funding further education colleges.

But the University and College Union (UCU) described the college plans as a "huge overreaction".

It said it was "shocked" by the proposals, which include getting rid of outreach centres and support services for students and learners.

"These cuts would deprive the people of Tower Hamlets and the surrounding boroughs of a vital lifeline," said UCU head of further education Barry Lovejoy.

"With the onset of recession, thousands of unemployed people will look to local colleges and adult education centres to improve their skills.

"However, if cuts to adult education, like these at Tower Hamlets, go ahead potential students will find their options severely limited."

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