Further £2bn to be spent on school building, says Laws

1 May 14
Schools minister David Laws has announced the government will spend £2bn on a second phase of its Priority School Building Programme in the six years from 2015.

By Richard Johnstone | 2 May 2014

Schools minister David Laws has announced the government will spend £2bn on a second phase of its Priority School Building Programme in the six years from 2015.

Publishing an update on the coalition’s priority building programme, which replaced the Labour government’s Building Schools for the Future scheme, Laws also announced yesterday that the first school to be completely rebuilt had opened.

He said the government had committed to spend £18bn on school buildings over the course of this parliament, including £2.4bn targeted at the schools in worst condition. Overall, this funding would build around 300 new schools and provide improvements to nearly 600 others.
In addition to building work undertaken by local authorities, this represents the central government’s biggest contribution to the school estate in decades, he said in a written statement.

Laws confirmed Whitmore Park Primary School in Coventry had opened as the first to be revamped under the Priority School Building Programme.

This targeted initiative was on target to improve 261 schools with buildings in the worst condition in England by the end of 2017, he said. It would now be extended into a second phase, with a further £2bn allocation over the next spending review period to 2021.
‘The Priority School Building Programme is being delivered much more efficiently and at much better value for money than the Building Schools for the Future programme: at a number of schools work has begun in half the time, while costs have been cut by up to 40%,’ Laws said.

‘The original Priority School Building Programme worked on the basis of the condition of the whole school site. We will now refine this to look at targeting individual school buildings, as well as whole school rebuilds where this is appropriate, so that the department can focus much more tightly on addressing specific issues in the estate.’

• The Treasury has also announced government approval for a £585m upgrade of two hospitals.

A £420m revamp of the Royal Sussex County hospital in Brighton has been approved by the Chancellor George Osborne to redevelop the hospital’s buildings, which are amongst the oldest in the NHS, dating back to the 19th century.

The aged buildings are hitting the quality of patient care and, under the redevelopment programme, old buildings on the site will be demolished and replaced with new facilities. The hospital’s capacity will also expand by 100 beds in the upgrade, which will be paid from the Department of Health’s capital budget.

In addition, a £165m, 30-year PFI deal to relocate the specialist heart and lung Papworth hospital in Cambridge has been agreed.

Papworth will move from its current location outside Cambridge onto the Addenbrooke’s hospital site in the city, with new buildings and facilities to be constructed at the site of the Cambridge Bio-medical Campus. Some of the Papworth buildings are more than 150 years old, and bringing it together with Addenbrooke’s will create a hub of world-leading medicine, research and pharmaceutical development, Osborne said.

Treasury approval means Papworth will now conclude its commercial discussions over the deal, and will submit the final details of the preferred bid to the Department of Health and the Treasury for checks before appointing its preferred bidder.


CIPFA logo

PF Jobsite logo

Did you enjoy this article?