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Thursday, October 04, 2007

A renewed promise?

Labour's 2003 Assembly manifesto contained a pledge to make all schools in Wales fit for purpose by 2010. Unfortunately, they made this promise before they knew the full cost of the work required to achieve it. When Pricewaterhouse Coopers produced a report on behalf of the Welsh Local Government Association that identified a £749m gap between the resources required and the funding available, the Labour Government quietly dropped the commitment.

That would have been the last we heard of it except that yesterday in Plenary, the new Education Minister, Jane Hutt, unwittingly ressurrected it:

Kirsty Williams: In 2003, your manifesto also said that all school buildings in Wales would be fit for purpose by 2010. Even the previous Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills has said that you will not live up to that promise. It simply will not happen. That was your commitment in 2003, and you have failed to deliver on it.

Jane Hutt: I am happy to talk about that target, which is a clear and important target, under which local authorities take responsibility as regards the funding that we are putting in.

Suddenly, it is game on once more. We all appreciate her courage and I, along with many other AMs will be pressing her to give details as to how she will achieve it.
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