Unions lobby MPs over school building cuts

By politics.co.uk staff

Hundreds of teachers descended on Westminster today in a protest against the coalition government’s plans to cut investment in Britain’s schools infrastructure.

Anger after education secretary Michael Gove’s announcement two weeks ago that he intended to wind down Labour’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme was intensified by inaccuracies in the initial list of schools facing disappointment.

Parliament was lobbied by the union-led rally this lunchtime. After meeting for a rally in Westminster Central Hall teachers sought meetings with their local MPs to intensify political pressure on the coalition.

“The tremendous turnout of parents, young people, school governors, local authorities and trade unions at today’s lobby of parliament confirms that the coalition government is on the wrong track in its decision to cut funding for school building,” teachers’ union NASUWT’s general secretary Chris Keates said afterwards.

“The coalition government was not elected to cut the schools rebuilding programme and should now respond appropriately to the concerns voiced by those who care about the future of state education.”

A template letter provided by the NASUWT union for members to send to their MPs warned a “cloud of uncertainty” continued to hover over school building projects.

“Many parents, teachers and other school staff are deeply concerned about the impact of these cuts and believe that cutting school building projects is unnecessary and will jeopardise the educational future of many children and young people,” it noted.

Analysis from the Local Government Association found councils had spent over £200 million preparing for school rebuilding schemes which were either stopped or academy schemes which were subject to discussion.

Union leaders believe the coalition government is making the cuts on ideological grounds, but ministers insist Labour’s BSF programme was unrealistic and inefficient.