RIBA president Ruth Reed has hit out at the government’s decision to immediately stop work on 719 Building Schools for the Future (BSF) projects worth £7.5 billion
Responding to today’s announcement by education minister Michael Gove, Reed said: ‘[The] end of the Building Schools for the Future programme is profoundly detrimental - not only to the construction industry that would be building the schools and the architectural profession… but also the thousands of pupils who have benefitted from an enriched learning experience.’
Earlier today (5 July) Gove said ‘radical reform’ was needed to make sure public money was not wasted on pointless bureaucracy and to ensure buildings are built on budget and on time - hence the scrapping of the whole BSF programme.
While Reed agreed processes could be improved, she maintained the current stock of school buidlings still needed an overhaul.
She added: ‘[We have] long argued that the process of procurement needed to be greatly improved in order to cut costs, save considerable time, and produce better designed buildings.
‘[Even so] though spending cuts are being implemented across all Government departments, essential spending on improving the school estate was long overdue’.
She added: ‘The profession has suffered the impact of the recession severely, and public projects such as BSF had constituted a significant portion of their workload. In attempting to reduce the deficit, it is essential that the Government does not offset a fledgling economic recovery by solely investing in the capital expenditure projects with the most financial returns, but those that will affect long term change to people’s lives; education is one of these fundamental areas.’