Schools' Money Put in Jeopardy Due to 'Political Games'

Conservatives should be ashamed of themselves says MP

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It's being claimed that two Ealing schools came close to losing £53 million pounds of vital funding because of 'political games' played by the Conservatives.

Labour say the Council's Conservative shadow cabinet called in a decision to award contracts to Cardinal Wiseman, and Dormers Wells High Schools and put their rebuilding projects in jeopardy.

They claim the Conservatives only withdrew their call in after being told that any delay in signing contracts would cost the council its funding.

Ealing Council has already been forced to cut its Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme after the Coalition government cancelled the vast majority of it.

Original plans in the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) included refurbishing every high school in the borough and building a new high school in Greenford but the new government left Ealing with funding for just Cardinal Wiseman and Dormer Wells.

Cllr Julian Bell leader of Ealing Council said:

“The Labour administration has been fighting since May to secure investment in our schools and it has been akin to getting blood from a stone. The borough desperately needs investment to secure enough school places for our growing population. The government’s cuts have made this incredibly difficult, as the programme they have left us with is nowhere near big enough to deliver the places we need. The Conservative group could seek to work with us in delivering school places for the borough but have chosen the play political games every time the subject comes up. “

Local MP Virendra Sharma who’s constituency includes Dormers Wells High School said:

“I think the Conservative group on the council should be ashamed of themselves. Their grandstanding has very nearly cost us a brand new school that the community in Southall desperately needs. We were made to suffer years of neglect the last time the Conservatives were in government and this time we were almost made to suffer just so the Conservatives could say something for a press release.”

Local MP Stephen Pound who’s constituency includes Cardinal Wiseman High School said:

“It is galling that the local Conservatives are imperilling this project after Conservative Secretary of State has taken almost all of our money for new schools. The Conservatives have done enough damage to our local schools in the few months that they have been in government they should get behind our local Labour Council as they try and salvage what they can for young people in Ealing North. Educating our children is far more important than party politics.”

Responding to the criticism Conservative Councillor David Millican said:

"We are hugely concerned about reckless spending associated with Labour. Through the call-in process the Conservatives forced the Council to look again at the extra spending on green roofs and electric car charging points. This meant that they reduced the extra spending by just under £200,000 - a savings to taxpayers.”


10 November 2010

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