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Cancelled schools plan cost £160M

The cost to councils of the Government cancelling school rebuilding projects has been placed at £160M, it has been disclosed.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said that local authorities recruited and commissioned designers and architects and carried out public consultations amongst other preparatory work for Labour’s £55bn Building Schools for the Future programme (BSF).

The work should be eligible for use under any new scheme established to carry out school building work, the LGA said.

More than £161,448,000 has been spent by 67 authorities in preparation for building projects in their areas, according to a snapshot survey carried out by the LGA, which represents councils across England.

Education secretary Michael Gove axed the BSF programme last week. He has since come under fire from MPs − including some from within his own party − over his handling of the decision.

He was forced to apologise to the Commons, and later said sorry again to council leaders, after it emerged that an initial list of 715 affected projects was strewn with errors − many schools believed to have escaped the axe later learned their re-building projects would be affected.

LGA Children and Young People’s Board chairman Shireen Ritchie said: “Councils have invested millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money preparing for school building schemes which they are told will now not go ahead. Town halls which have embraced this Government initiative should not be out of pocket and their residents should not end up footing the bill.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • The apparently widely held perception that school buildings have to be renewed before students can receive a good education is rubbish.

    Good schools turn out well educated pupils if the system is right and teaching is good even if buildings are old and decrepit.

    Some of the best private schools have some pretty awful buildings.

    The Building Schools for the Future Programme was far to ambitious and simply not affordable.

    Paul Reedman

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