Local pensioners' college course support could end

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In what will be regarded by many as a controversial move, today's Nantwich Guardian reports that the financial support for elderly learners could be scrapped and the money used instead to provide free courses for asylum seekers and benefits claimants. The changes have been put forward by Cheshire County Council to the authority's adult and community strategic panel to consider. Colleges are already being told to phase out the County's traditional rebate for those aged over 60 or 65.

The County's community wellbeing manager, Tim Mann says: "These proposals should lead to a greater proportion of cost being borne by those that can afford to contribute to their own leaning and to improve access to those learners least able to contribute to cost. This is in line with current Government policy."

The proposal has caused outrage amongst elderly pressure groups. A spokeswoman for the University of the Third Age predicted many more elderly people will join their community based programmes. But she believed the move was "disgraceful" and would affect many existing members' education.



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