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Government faces court action over BSF abolition

Mon 24 Jan 2011

The government's decision to scrap the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme will be under the spotlight at the High Court this week.

Six local authorities are taking legal action as they believe pupils could lose out now that the planned improvements to school buildings will not take place.

Waltham Forest Council is one of six authorities that it is challenging the decision, as it has stated that BSF represented a "once in a lifetime opportunity to raise aspirations".

Chris Robbins, leader of the body, said the planned school improvements were especially important as the borough has a high level of deprivation.

This, he added, means that not going ahead with the work could have a "devastating impact" for the community.

Kent County Council is also taking the matter through the legal system, alongside Newham Council, Sandwell Council, Nottingham City Council and Luton Borough Council.

Education secretary Michael Gove announced that the BSF programme would be scrapped in July 2010, on the grounds that it was "bureaucratic" and accounted for just a third of capital investment overall in schools.

However, he insisted at the time that the government will continue to invest in upgrading school buildings.

Andrea Squires, a partner at Winckworth Sherwood Solicitors, commented: "The government's proposals for future capital investment in schools seem to be slow to emerge and without a coherent strategy it will be difficult to defend arguments that the scrapping of BSF was hasty and purely politically motivated. The detail as to amounts and priorities is now needed."ADNFCR-2761-ID-800360987-ADNFCR

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