6th July 2010
"During the election campaign, new Prime Minister David Cameron told the Daily Echo there was 'no doubt' the Southampton BSF scheme would go ahead."
- Southern Daily Echo
The Conservative-Liberal government has broken a direct promise made by David Cameron to the people of Southampton that school rebuilding and renovation projects across the constituency would go ahead.
Under the previous Labour government, five schools in Southampton were due to be completely rebuilt, and a further three were due to get upgraded IT facilities, as part of the Building Schools for the Future programme.
During the General Election campaign, David Cameron gave assurances that Southampton's BSF projects would go ahead.
But yesterday Conservative Education Secretary Michael Gove announced that the Southampton projects would be scrapped.
Alan Whitehead said:
"This appears to be quite a shameless example of the Prime Minister making a politically expedient promise before the election, and breaking it as soon as he in power.
"This was a real opportunity to invest in our city's future and close the educational gap between Southampton and other parts of the country. That opportunity has now been squandered to pay for the Tory-Liberal obsession with 'free schools.'
"This is also a serious blow to the builders and support workers who would have worked on these rebuilding projects. In their budget statement the Conservatives said they would not cut capital spending just because it was easier to do so. It's an extraordinary u-turn to abandon so many important capital projects in Southampton just a few weeks later.
"Conservative objections now to the way BSF was funded just won't wash. If they had such a fundamental objection to BSF funding, why did David Cameron give a cast-iron assurance before the election that Southampton's BSF projects would go ahead?
"During the election we were accused of negative campaigning over the Tory threat to BSF, but now it's clear this was an entirely legitimate issue to raise. The Tories must apologise now- not to us, but to the thousands of Southampton children whose future has been short-changed by this shoddy education policy."
The schools affected in Southampton are as follows-
- Chamberlayne College- rebuild scrapped
- St George's- rebuild scrapped
- Sholding Technology College- rebuild scrapped
- Upper Shirley High- rebuild scrapped
- Cantell- IT improvements scrapped
- Redbridge Community School- IT improvements scrapped
- Woodlands Community College- IT improvements scrapped
The government has yet to announced what will happen to the funding for the rebuild of the Lord's Hill and Mayfield Academies.
During the election, David Cameron told the Southern Daily Echo that there was 'no doubt' school rebuilding projects in Southampton would go ahead. The Conservative candidate for Southampton Test wrote pieces entitled 'I will fight for local schools and colleges' and said "the only thing holding up [Southampton school building projects] is government sign-off."
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