Following an invitation from the MP for Beverley and Holderness, Graham Stuart, the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, will visit Beverley tomorrow, Friday 2nd November. He will meet with Graham and Council leader, Steve Parnaby, to discuss how to accelerate school building improvements in the East Riding.
The issue of how to build and maintain schools cost effectively is critical when government budgets are so tight and following the disaster of Labour’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, which was found to have wasted vast sums on a small number of schools while leaving the wider school estate dilapidated and in disrepair. The East Riding of Yorkshire was given nothing by BSF and now has a serious backlog estimated by the Council at more than £400 million.
Graham said, “We will be able to tell the Secretary of State about the practical, can-do attitude we have in the East Riding and our commitment to delivering value for money, low cost solutions to capital spending in schools.
“The Council has proposals that would allow early work to start on improving our schools, at reasonable cost and to the benefit of local children and their education. Steve and I will be pressing the Secretary of State to hear our pleas, release funding and let us show what we can do when the East Riding is given the chance.
“Rural areas were left high and dry by Labour, which allocated money, not on the basis of building need, but based on partisan political priorities. This Government has pledged more than £17 billion over this Parliament to help build and maintain schools. We now need to ensure they allow local Councils the flexibility to use that money in ways that make the most sense for their local circumstances.” The Secretary of State’s visit to Beverley follows a meeting arranged by Council Leader, Steve Parnaby OBE, to discuss how local authorities can often build and refurbish schools in a more cost effective and efficient way and should not be hindered by one-size-fits-all central government programmes.