§ Mr. Paterson
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to harmonise pay grades between teachers in further education colleges and schools. 
§ Margaret Hodge
Teachers in maintained schools are subject to national school teachers pay and conditions. Further Education (FE) colleges are run by independent corporations established under the Further Education and Higher Education Act 1992 and there is no national pay structure in place. It is for each FE college to agree pay scales and conditions of employment with its staff in the context of the overall resources available to it. There are no plans to change these arrangements.
We have invested a significant amount of funding in the FE sector. Assumed total funding for FE colleges allocated to the LSC will increase by £1.2 billion in the three years to 2005–06, a 19 per cent. real terms increase. This funding provides the framework to allow FE colleges to make real progress on pay and pay structures and to narrow substantially the pay gap between general FE colleges and schools. We continue to work to deliver the Governments Manifesto commitment to bring up the level of funding for FE colleges towards that of school sixth forms.