Council leader Julian Bell is keen to big up the large amount of school capital spending that is going on in the Borough right now. He is less keen to explain why we need all of the new schools or to be honest about where the money is coming from. Cllr Bell’s tweet points to this press release from the council which says:
An additional £80million has been earmarked over the next four years for the borough’s schools. This includes projects to expand schools following a massive surge in primary school applications as well as improvements to special needs education.
The largest part of this money is coming from the Tory-led coalition government. If you add the £14.8 million for high priority school improvements to address condition issues the total is £95.3 million of new schools capital (as confirmed in section 4.14.2 of the budget report).
If you dig around further in the appendices of the budget report (appendix 6b, page 70 – simply add up all schools items marked with a G) you will find that £79.1 million of this money is due to come from central government grants. For all of Labour’s huffing and puffing about cuts, and about the end of Labour’s wasteful BSF scheme, 83% of this new spending has been provided by the Tory-led coalition from centrally collected funds.
Don’t expect Labour to explain that.