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BSF Cuts: cancelled schools cost £160m

The cost to councils of the Government cancelling school rebuilding projects has been placed at £160 million, it has been disclosed

The Local Government Association (LGA) said that local authorities recruited and commissioned designers and architects and carried out public consultations amongst other preparatory work for Labour’s £55 billion Building Schools for the Future programme (BSF).

The work should be eligible for use under any new scheme established to carry out school building work, the LGA said.

More than £161,448,000 has been spent by 67 authorities in preparation for building projects in their areas - such as Maber Architects’ Tibshelf Community School scheme - according to a snapshot survey carried out by the LGA, which represents councils across England.

Education Secretary Michael Gove axed the BSF programme last week. He has since come under fire from MPs - including some from within his own party - over his handling of the decision.

He was forced to apologise to the Commons, and later said sorry again to council leaders, after it emerged that an initial list of 715 affected projects was strewn with errors - many schools believed to have escaped the axe later learned their re-building projects would be affected.

Councillor Shireen Ritchie, chairman of the LGA’s Children and Young People’s Board, said: ‘Councils have invested millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money preparing for school building schemes which they are told will now not go ahead. Town halls which have embraced this Government initiative should not be out of pocket and their residents should not end up footing the bill.’

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