Fight to save BSF schemes goes to High Court

Grant Prior 13 years ago
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A Judicial Review challenging the Government’s decision to scrap the Building Schools for the Future programme will be heard in the High Court in January.

Six local authorities have won the right to challenge Education Secretary Michael Gove’s decision to dump BSF after Leeds Divisional Court ruled the case will now be heard in the High Court.

Luton council is leading the fight with Nottingham City Council, London Boroughs of Newham and Waltham Forest, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council and Kent County Council.

Luton has been lumbered with a £3.6m bill in aborted preparatory work after two schools worth £45m were scrapped just weeks before construction was due to start. Wates was main contractor on its aborted BSF programme.

Cllr Tahir Khan, Executive Member with responsibility for Children’s Services said: “Luton Borough Council welcomes this decision as we believe we have a strong case.

“This legal action was taken reluctantly, and only after having failed to find a way forward from our correspondence with the Department for Education.

“Our action relates to two schools, at a combined cost of £45 million, where we were just seven weeks away from construction start.

“This late cancellation has left the Council with liabilities totalling £3.6 million for the abortive work already done and therefore having to find further savings from an already scarce budget, which ultimately will mean cuts to more services and jobs.

“We are not disputing the Secretary of State’s right to make a decision to withdraw funding for the Building Schools for the Future programme but we believe the decision reached was irrational and that our individual circumstances were not taken into account.

“Our priority is to protect the interests of our local schools, young people and residents.”

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