Ministers scrap Building Schools for the Future
By Vivienne Russell
5 July 2010
The national programme to build and renovate school buildings has been halted, Education Secretary Michael Gove announced today.
Gove said that, in the light of the public finances, it would have been irresponsible to carry on with the Building Schools for the Future programme.
The announcement means that the 715 schools earmarked to be rebuilt or refurbished will not receive the funding. The 123 academy projects that are in development and have not yet reached financial close will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
The government is to launch a review of capital investment in schools, early years and colleges. The review will guide future spending decisions, make design and procurement cost-effective and overhaul how capital is allocated and targeted.
The National Union of Teachers said there was no excuse for leaving schools promised new buildings 'swinging in the wind'.
General secretary Christine Blower said: 'Cutting the budget to rebuild schools, particularly primary
schools, will be a huge blow to those that have been promised the sort of
facilities you would expect in a modern school. We are in real danger of
returning to the crumbling inadequate schools that were a signature of the last
The Department for Education also announced that it is to reduce its end-year flexibility requirements – which allowed departments to access extra funding from the underspend across government – by £1bn in line with the government’s plans to reduce the deficit.
Three other Whitehall departments have made similar commitments. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has agreed a reduction of £265m; the Department for Communities and Local Government a reduction of £220m; and the Home Office a reduction of £55m.
The reductions will ensure there is no additional borrowing this year, the Treasury said.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: ‘The previous government committed to spending money it did not have, but this coalition government has taken action to address this serious situation. The decisions have not been easy, but the understanding and co-operation of my Cabinet colleagues has enabled us to act swiftly to ensure that the nation can live within its means.’