SOMERSET Skills & Learning looks set for job cuts and centre closures despite having a funding U-turn.

It emerged this week that despite having the majority of its funding restored, the company is still facing a shortfall which would mean it closes six centres and more than 50 staff could be made redundant.

Last month SS&L was hit a drastic 97 per cent cut in its funding, which saw its grant money fall from around £3 million to £111,000 and the future of Adult Education in Somerset looked in doubt.

Following campaigning by both the local Labour party and Somerset's Conservative MPs, the government swiftly U-turned, securing SS&L £2 million in lost funding, but it would seem it is not enough for the company to run without major changes.

People booked on to adult education courses are still waiting to hear whether they will go ahead. They have been told that courses with enough students to be viable will start this term.

SS&L says it will need a radical restructure in order to keep going.

SS&L chief executive Susan Simon-Norris said: "A radical restructure has been proposed and this would sadly mean losing almost a third of our staff and closing six centres to reduce our overheads.

"We have no choice - the funding cuts have left us in a very difficult position.”

West Somerset Labour Party chairman Maureen Smith said this was a terrible blow for adult education in Somerset. "West Somerset is likely to suffer very badly," she said.

"These drastic cuts are a consequence of the decision by the county council to out-source this important service. Education is not just about preparing people for work. With an ageing population, it is vital for social inclusion and well-being. Labour will continue to campaign for education for all."

Somerset Skills & Learning currently teaches around 10,000 students and employs around 200 staff.

Staff are currently in redundancy consultations and centres are likely to close in the coming months.