Who’s pledging to build the most childcare centres, ‘turnaround’ schools, walk-in health centres and community hospitals? Here are the manifestos in a nutshell …
- 15-year Building Schools for the Future programme
- Will establish at least 200 city academies by 2010 – there are currently 17
- Will invest in renovating and building new school kitchens
- New walk-in health centres for commuters and high-street drop-in centres
- 50 additional community hospitals by 2010
What this means if Labour wins:
Certainty of work. About £30-45bn would be spent on secondary schools alone until at least 2020, with the bonus of nearly £5bn of work on primary schools in the next five years. NHS work would also be secure, with the much-trumpeted commitment to build 100 hospitals by 2010 needing to be met. Even some DoH officials, however, are unclear as to whether the 50 community hospitals are part of this ambition or are part of a separate programme.
- Will provide more investment in local hospitals
- Will give extra support for workplace nurseries and a new network of clubs for older children
- Will provide an extra £15bn a year for schools by 2009/10
- Will introduce “turnaround schools” for difficult pupils
- School expansion fund will provide an additional 600,000 places in first term
What this means if the Tories win:
Not certain. The Tories’ main focus appears to be cutting £35bn of government waste. Labour and Lib Dems have tried to tie these savings with alleged hidden Tory plans for cuts in public services. Tories argue this will free up money. One proposal to cut waste is to free up procurement, so that NHS trusts and LEAs would tender for work directly. As the Tories seem set on abolishing all previous targets, this would come in handy: the government would have little idea what work was being procured where.
- Will build 3500 Children’s Centres by 2010, as part of annual £125m spend on childcare provision
- Will invest £250m in modern, high-quality college facilities to teach vocational skills in first term
- Will commit to sustainable building in all new schools, for example by minimising the need for heating and by using sustainable materials
What this means if the Lib Dems win:
Greater focus on environmental and sustainability issues. Emphasis moved to earlier stages of education, providing construction with another layer of work in the sector. General lack of figures makes it unclear how they are going to back up their promises – although the manifesto does ensure the reader that the pledges are “fully costed”. Lack of detail on healthcare building.