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Academies warning from Lib Dems, as BT scraps graduate recruitment scheme

August 25, 2009

2008_1025September080107Nick Perry, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary campaigner for Hastings & Rye, has issued a stark warning following reports in the Business Section of Monday\’s Guardian that BT has become ‘one of the first big name companies to scrap its graduate recruitment scheme’.

Journalists David Teather and Kathryn Hopkins said that, ‘BT blamed the economy on the decision to axe the scheme and said there was no certainty when it might start recruiting again. BT is Britain’s ninth-largest employer and has 147,000 workers.’

British Telecom has been enlisted as a private sector sponsor for two Academies planned for Hastings. The plan is the latest attempt by the Conservative County Council to succeed in improving secondary school results in the town.

Responding to the news, Nick said,

“That BT has been hit hard by the recession makes it even more important that there is a fully thought-out alternative to the County Council’s Academies plan. We Lib Dems have been the only ones advocating an alternative plan as a matter of principle, because we don’t agree with some of the ways that Academies are delivered. Now it seems that the hard economic facts back up our case too.

“I am not an economist, but to my mind, if BT is reporting a 45% drop in pre-tax profits and has slashed its dividend, then it will not have the capacity to finance philanthropic works. If it does not have the cash to fund its own graduate recruitment scheme, how on earth could it have the resources to play a leading role in new secondary schools in Hastings?

“Local people have a right to know what the score is, and the County Council must be frank about the current position. Liberal Democrats will work to get the answers to these important questions.”

Photo: Nick with Cllr Kathryn Field, Deputy Leader of the Lib Dems on East Sussex County Council, at a public meeting on Academies last year

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