In spite of Alistair Darling halving the capital budget George Osborne has just announced Â£15.8 billion to build or refurbish 600 schools. The over-complex BSF programme is dead but we will have new schools.
The back up documents say:
The capital settlement will allow Â£15.8 billion over the Spending Review period to maintain the schools estate. Although reduced by 60 per cent over the Spending Review period, the decision to end Building Schools for the Future (BSF) will allow new capital spending to be focused on providing new places in areas of severe demographic pressure and addressing essential maintenance needs. The Government will meet the commitment to rebuild or refurbish over 600 schools from the BSF and Academies programme.
It demonstrates how bloated and lopsided BSF was. After cutting the capital allowance for schools by 60% a mere four years of education capital is still the same size as Crossrail which is one of the biggest one-off capital projects that this country has ever undertaken.
Given that in Ealing the previous administration was successful in securing and funding a site for a new school for the borough in Greenford the new administration should be well placed to make a claim on this Â£15.8 billion fund which is specifically tied to “severe demographic pressure”.