Government cuts schools repairs budget

The March Budget, which set out the Government’s spending plans, has cut the funding dedicated to repairing school buildings by £100m.

The Department for Education's (DfE) capital budget next year is £4.5bn, compared with £4.6bn this year.

Trade unions in the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC), which campaigns to reduce asbestos in schools, described the move as “irresponsible”.

John McClean, chair of JUAC, said: “Any real-terms decrease in capital funding for schools in this Budget will raise the risk from asbestos for children and staff.

“School budgets are already at breaking point after more than a decade’s funding freeze, and many school buildings are literally crumbling as repairs become unaffordable.”

Around four-fifths of school buildings in England contain asbestos, according to the Department for Health's own estimate.

Recent research by the NEU teaching union has revealed that 3,731 schools need immediate repair and a further 9,872 need work within two years at the latest.

The union's joint general secretary Mary Bousted said: “Spending on school buildings has fallen dramatically since 2010; it is now 42 per cent lower than under the last government. We greatly regret the government’s neglect.”

Related Stories
‘Open or shut?’ confusion over Government’s covoid-19 policy
Construction work at some English and Welsh schools was continuing as Education Design and Build went to press, but with the coronavirus escalating fast, pressure was mounting on the Government to order a total close-down.
Choosing the right school gate
As the UK’s leading manufacturer and installer of school gates, Jacksons Fencing are experts in finding a gate solution for any situation, whether it's for pedestrians and vehicles entering the site, or access for sports pitches and emergency services.
Ahmarra Offer a Range of New Tools to Support Fire Door Specification for the Ed
Ahmarra Door Solutions are one of the UK’s leading fire door manufacturers with over 25 years’ experience. Our core services include the design, manufacture, installation and project management of internal doorsets and glazed screens.