The squeeze on Welsh further education will continue in the next academic year.
Allocations for 1997-98 announced this week by the Further Education Funding Council for Wales total Pounds 155.794 million, up from Pounds 150.708 million in 1996-97. But this represents a 3.5 per cent cut in the standard unit of recurrent funding, 5.6 per cent if capital equipment allocations are taken into account.
John Andrews, chief executive of FEFCW said: "We have done our level best to be fair to institutions, but we recognise that further economies will be necessary and the pressure on institutions' resources is growing."
Professor Andrews said concern centred on the likelihood of the squeeze continuing for two years, with a 9.8 per cent cut projected for 1998-99 and 5.2 per cent in 1999-2000: "This amounts to a total cut of 19.2 per cent over three years."
The situation in Welsh further education is similar to that in higher education as a whole a few years ago, with economies offset by growth in student numbers.
Professor Andrews said: "We have had problems with lower staying-on rates at 16-plus, but are now pretty well up to national average levels, and further education has played an extremely important part in this. This has made some economies in scale possible, but there are limits."
Capital spending has been cut from a 1996-97 level of Pounds 17 million to Pounds 14.5 million in 1997-98, with a further cut to Pounds 7 million projected for the following two years.