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Friday, August 12, 2005

School's out

This article in the Western Mail underlines what we have been saying for some time, there simply is not enough money in the system to meet the Welsh Assembly Government's 2010 target of every school being 'fit for purpose'.

WAG argue that they have exceeded their 2007 target of putting £560m into the system 'with investment already standing at £629m', however this is not strictly true. The actual amount of public money going into schools is less than £560m with the difference made up of PFI schemes, many of which have still not got off the ground. Furthermore the Assembly Government spokesperson's statement is misleading, as the implication is that this amount has already been spent. It has not, it is budgeted as future spend.

What is not clear is the attitude taken by Minister's to PFI. They are perfectly content to rely on already approved schemes to bolster their own figures so as to create the illusion that their election promise has been met, but they are not prepared to countenance or encourage any more PFI schemes to enable Councils to deal with some of the problems they face in maintaining schools. The only consistency in this position is that it gets the Education Minister off a particularly nasty hook of her own making.
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