Judicial review challenging decision to scrap £55bn Building Schools for the Future programme will be heard in January

The escalating row over the government’s decision to scrap the £55bn Building Schools for the Future programme is to hit the High Court.

A judicial review challenging the decision will be heard in January after Leeds divisional court ruled that a case brought by Luton and Nottingham City councils should be heard by the High Court. The case will be heard alongside those of four other authorities – Newham, Waltham Forest, Sandwell and Kent.

Luton was left with liabilities totaling £3.6m when two of its BSF schools worth £45m were cancelled in July weeks away from the start of construction work.

Councillor Tahir Khan, executive member with responsibility for Children’s Services said: “Luton Borough Council welcomes this decision as we believe we have a strong case. This legal action was taken reluctantly, and only after having failed to find a way forward from our correspondence with the Department for Education.”

He added: “We are not disputing the Secretary of State’s right to make a decision to withdraw funding for the Building Schools for the Future programme but we believe the decision reached was irrational and that our individual circumstances were not taken into account.”

“Our priority is to protect the interests of our local schools, young people and residents.”