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Gove to keep 'open mind' on scrapped BSF schools

Education Secretary Michael Gove says he will keep an ‘open mind’ as he reconsiders the future of school building projects in six council areas, in the wake of last month’s High Court ruling against him

Gove has given the authorities until April 11 to give him information on the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) schemes in their area that they want to save.

The High Court ruled the education secretary must reconsider his plan to axe the £55 billion BSF initiative in the six authority areas because he had not consulted them before imposing the cuts.

In five of the cases the failure was ‘so unfair as to amount to an abuse of power’, Justice Holman commented.

The case was brought by Nottingham City Council, Luton Borough Council, Newham London Borough Council, Waltham Forest London Borough Council, Kent County Council and Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council.

Gove told MPs officials had written to the six claimant local authorities to begin a process of consultation on their affected BSF projects.

In a written ministerial statement he said: ‘I have requested that the six local authorities provide me with any and all information about the BSF projects in their area which they consider is necessary for me to take into account when making a fresh decision with respect to those projects.’

He added: ‘Local authority officers and relevant elected members and members of parliament will be invited to attend a meeting at the Department.

‘These meetings will allow the local authorities to discuss the information they have provided in more depth and allow them to make further representations on issues that they consider need particular attention.’

Gove continued: ‘After that, I will make a decision on each of the projects, having considered, with an open mind, all of the information gathered over the consultation period and with due regard to my equalities duties.’

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