Review by Public Accounts Committee chair Margaret Hodge will look at claims of waste and bureaucracy
The Labour chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge, has confirmed she is to set up an enquiry into the £55bn Building Schools for the Future programme which was axed by education secretary Michael Gove last Monday.
Hodge said the review would look at the claims of waste and bureaucracy in the system operated by Partnerships for Schools, but would also examine how much money had been wasted by councils who had spent time working up projects only for them to be cancelled.
She said the issue fell within the committee’s remit to examine value for money.
“The announcement Gove made about the projects that were cancelled was chaotic and shambolic,” she told the Guardian news paper. “We would look into the delays and the bureaucracy and value for money.”
“We would also look into value for money in terms of the money that local authorities have already spent before learning that their projects were to be cancelled. It appears that Gove is going to come back with a programme which only gives free schools and academies money for their buildings. We have to measure the government against their commitment to be fair.”
The news came as Gove came under fire in the Commons yesterday for the announcement from both sides of the House, after publishing a further set of amendments to the list of schools to be scrapped.
Patrick Mercer, the Conservative MP for Newark, said the headteacher of the Orchard special educational needs school had told him that the rebuilding programme was desperately needed. “When it rains heavily in this school the children have to stop being taught in order to hold buckets under the leaking roof,” Mercer said.