London council has had 14 school building projects cancelled

Camden council is to investigate whether there could be a basis for legal action against the government after last week’s cancellation of the £55bn Building Schools for the Future programme.

The London borough, in conjunction with other as yet unnamed local authorities, is fighting the decision by Michael Gove, the education secretary, to scrap rebuilding programmes for schools across England. Fourteen projects were cancelled in Camden, with another three listed as ‘for discussion’.

Labour councillor Heather Johnson, cabinet member for children, schools and families at Camden council, said: “I share the huge and widespread disappointment of our schools; they have worked tirelessly over the last four years, including countless hours of school governors’ time and others who work for their schools in a voluntary capacity.

“We are working with other local authorities on both protesting about the decision to cancel BSF but also to investigate whether there could be a basis for a legal challenge.”

The news comes after Monday’s announcement that Nottingham council would be the first local authority to investigate legal action against the government. Some £33m in funding to the city’s Trinity and Top Valley school projects was cut with the decision to abandon BSF.

In the construction industry, the cancellation of BSF has led to more than £100m in wasted bidding costs from contractors, according to the UK Contractors Group.

Industry figures predict it will not be until late 2011 before contracts can be awarded on a scaled back programme.