Saturday, 22 May 2010

Schools facing damaging cuts

When the axe falls on public spending it is no use thinking it will only chop 'waste'.Spending cuts of the scale the ConDem government is talking of will hit vital services, damage communities, and threaten economic recovery. This week's Birmingham Post sounds the alarm over government plans to scrap the £47 billion Building Schools for the Future programme.

The government has announced a review, but virtually every school in Birmingham is already depending on this programme, either to sign long awaited and badly needed refurbishment or rebuilding contracts, or to complete those works that are already on site.

Scrapping the programme now would be a massive blow to these schools. And, in the words of t
he Birmingham Post, "Birmingham's education system could soon split into the haves and the have-nots" with some schools forced to struggle on with temporary classrooms or outdated facilities.

This is bad news for schools, and bad news for the education of our children. But it is also very bad news for the construction industry and the thousands of people who depend on it for their jobs. With the economy in a mess, and construction one of the worst hit sectors, these type of contracts are a lifeline. It is exactly the thing that the government should be doing - investing in our future and securing jobs.

Over the months and years to come, just listen to the ConDem government talk of 'waste' and 'inefficiency'. Don't expect them to own up to the real damage their cuts will do. There is a lot more of this to come.