Wednesday 26 January 2011

Legal Challenge to Gove's Cuts

Michael Gove speaking at the Conservative Part...Image via WikipediaThe coalition government looks set to face yet another problem over education.

After the fiasco with the increases in tuition fees and scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), the Education Secretary Michael Gove now faces a legal challenge. This revolves around his decision to abolish the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme. The scheme, devised by Labour, was scrapped last July after the coalition government came to power.

Under the scheme, every secondary school would have been given funding for a rebuild. Now, 700 schools will have this money withdrawn. Seven councils (Waltham Forest, Luton Borough Council, Nottingham City Council, Sandwell, Kent County Council and Newham) have brought a legal challenge to the High Court in London over this volte face, saying that stopping the programme in their areas was arbitrary and legally flawed.

Gove is accused of not consulting properly and failing to give adequate reasons for his decision. His lawyers said in reply that the coalition had inherited the largest ever peacetime deficit and that spending cuts had to be made quickly.

Have you suffered because of the cuts to the BSF programme? Are you teaching or learning in shabby classrooms? Let us know why your school should qualify for a rebuild.

The Government is less than a year old, but is already under considerable pressure, not only in the field of education funding, but in defence, social care, employment, health and just about any area you care to choose. The state of the economy continues to look parlous.

How long can things go on? Will the Coalition Government continue with its controversial cuts? Or will it come up with a Plan B, as shadow chancellor Ed Balls advised yesterday? Will the Conservatives be "out of office for a generation", as Bank of England governor Mervyn King predicted, even before the election.

We live in interesting, if difficult, times.
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