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LIPA left 'clinging on' after wrongly missing out on PS16m of funding; macca calls on government to resolve 'flawed process'.

Byline: LIAM THORP ECHO Reporter liam.thorp@trinitymirror.com @LIAMTHORPECHO

SIR Paul McCartney has blasted government incompetence and a catalogue of errors that has seen a city institution miss out on PS16m.

The Beatles legend has been left furious after the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA), which he cofounded, was left facing an uncertain future after what he called an "injustice".

An investigation is now under way by the Parliamentary Ombudsman, looking at how the Office for Students (then the HEFCE) disqualified LIPA from a funding process which the institution believes was "botched" and riddled with errors.

Responsible for the distribution of funding for higher education to universities, HEFCE failed LIPA at the first stage of the process in 2016.

Despite being allowed to proceed to the next stage of the funding process - following a subsequent successful appeal - LIPA discovered all the fund had already been allocated.

LIPA, founded 24 years ago, says the "series of errors", made in 2016, had cost the institute some PS16m in potential funding and a further PS160,000 for the initial steps of a judicial review.

Your views Email us at Following the adverse second-stage decision, HEFCE wrongly advised Letters@liverpoolecho.

LIPA the decision-making process could not be challenged, so LIPA's co.uk only option was to embark upon a Judicial Review process.

The Judicial Review gave LIPA access to key evidence, which revealed HEFCE's "repeatedly flawed" decision-making process.

Its process has since also been deemed unfair and unprofessional by a number of independent bodies, including three Liverpool universities.

HEFCE's decisionmaking process is now under review by the Parliamentary Ombudsman. Sir Paul, LIPA's lead patron, said: "I helped to bring LIPA into life during very difficult times for Liverpool.

"It is now a highlyrespected institution all over the world.

"Our funding was recently affected by what to me, and the heads of every university in Liverpool, was a flawed process. "LIPA is my passion and part of my legacy. It would not be fair to allow injustice to affect its future.

"I sincerely hope the Government will correct this error and help us to continue our work successfully into the future."

LIPA's principal and co-founder, Mark Featherstone-Witty, added: "LIPA has been central to maintaining the level of Liverpool's cultural output, the prestige of which is the envy of the world.

"As one of the most respected arts institutions in the world, the funding body's decision has had a huge impact on not only the city, but on our country's cultural output as a whole, let alone ourselves."

He added: "It is unclear what will happen after the Parliamentary Ombudsman reaches a decision.

"We'd like to recoup the lost funding and be readmitted to the specialist-funding group we once belonged to.

"We also hope for an acknowledgement about the impact it has had on our city, our culture and that it was a flawed process."

Mr Featherstone-Whitty said the "flawed" process had stopped LIPA doing many of the things it had wanted to do - and had put its long-term future in doubt.

He said: "This has made things very tight and we are clinging on - how can we now compete with other institutions who have been given PS16m more than us?" An Office for Students (OfS) spokesman said: "This is a live investigation and it would not be appropriate to comment any further."

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My passion and part of my legacy - Sir Paul McCartney at LIPA Picture: ANDREW TEEBAY
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 25, 2019
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