Somerset Lib Dem MP and Education Minister, David Laws, decided not to turn up to the session in Parliament today when Labour tabled Urgent Questions on school funding and the Free School programme.
Responding to reports that Michael Gove raided the Targeted Basic Need programme budget by £400million to plug a black hole in the Free School programme, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt MP today said:
“The Liberal Democrats are locked-in to the failing Free School programme. They gave it their stamp of approval from day one. They are as much to blame as the Tories. They are culpable in the decision to re-allocate money away from areas where there are huge pressures on primary school places into the Free School vanity project.
“Ministers should report to the House of Commons explaining their decision to direct £400 million away from areas of high and severe need for new school places at a time when we have a national crisis in primary places.”
Cllr Mick Lerry said: “West Somerset College have recently reported that there is a funding shortfall of £700K and therefore have to consider a staff restructuring programme to balance the books. Yet Michael Gove has raided the Basic Need Budget, which exists to support the planning of pupil places, for his Free schools flagship policy. The Basic Need Budget could have been used for the three-tier education system in West Somerset.”.
“If there are going to be schools facing a funding crisis, then Michael Gove MP and Lib Dem partners must be seen as creating the crisis.”
12th May 2014
Cllr Mick Lerry-Leader of the labour Group on Sedgemoor District Council
Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Bridgwater and West Somerset Constituency
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