I spoke during a debate on Further Education.
Joan Ryan (Enfield North) (Lab): My hon. Friend has referred to international experience. I am sure she is aware that investing in the literacy and numeracy of students post-16 is linked to higher productivity in their working lives. Does she therefore agree that the wrong-headed policy of the Government towards further education is threatening our economic success?
Lucy Powell: Absolutely. Raising productivity is the key challenge that our economy faces, and I do not understand a Government who say that the principle is right on protecting education spending up to 16, but not on doing so up to 18 and 19, given that such attendance is now compulsory. I do not understand that logic, and I hope that the Secretary of State can explain it to us today.