’Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ has been snatched away, say councils seeking to overturn BSF decision

Six councils are taking the government to court this week, as they try to overturn its decision to cancel their school building programmes after the Building Schools for the Future scheme was scrapped.

Councils including Waltham Forest and Newham in east London, as well as councils in Luton, Nottingham, Sandwell and Kent are seeking a judicial review of the government’s axing of the £55bn BSF programme.

According to reports, a spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “The secretary of state terminated the BSF programme because it was unnecessarily complex, poor value for money and unaffordable in the economic climate. We are robustly defending the claims made by the local authorities and believe we have a strong case.”

But the leader of Waltham Forest council, Chris Robbins, said: “We have significant levels of deprivation in our borough and BSF was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to raise aspirations. That chance has been snatched away from future generations and will have a devastating impact for years to come.”

The hearing is due to start on Tuesday and is expected to last one week.

>> Find out the latest government thinking on the James Review at BSEC, 23 - 24 February 2011, ExCeL London. bsecevent.com