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London's Learning and Skills Centres to be run by mayor

24 January 2006
London's Learning and Skills Centres to be run by mayor

London's five Learning and Skills Centres (LSC) could be merged into a single organisation controlled by the Mayor under new plans.

The proposal is part of a raft of Government ideas to shift power from Whitehall to the Greater London Authority.

Shifting the power to the mayor is the most dramatic of four options put forward in a consultation from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, which closes on 22 February.

Other suggestions to boost the effectiveness of the LSCs include creating a new regional board for London, or granting the Mayor a greater role in setting their priorities.

The 47 LSCs in England and Wales were set up in 2001 to handle local education and skill requirements and to tackle local shortages.

Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive at the British Hospitality Association, said it remained to early to say if giving the Mayor total control over the London LSCs and their budget (which totalled £851m for 2005-2006), was desirable.

He added that although Mayor Ken Livingstone had done a good job for tourism in London, he remained "slightly sceptical" about the merit of handing so much power to a single person.

By Angela Frewin

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