Many projects likely to be delayed or scrapped due to sharp reduction in funding

The Welsh government’s national school building programme will not go ahead as planned due to a reduction in UK capital funding.

Under the 21st Century Schools programme, schools to the value of £4.4bn were intended to be built over the next 15 years.

Local authorities submitted their plans for building new schools with the understanding that they would fund 30% of the costs while the remainder would be funded by the Welsh government.

However councils across Wales have now been told to resubmit plans for new schools and contribute significantly more funds to the projects. As a result it is likely many projects will be delayed or scrapped.  

The news will dismay many contractors who had won places on frameworks agreements to build the new schools.

A smattering of projects will go ahead before 2014 under the original understanding, due to being at an advanced stage.

Welsh education minister Leighton Andrews was keen to point out that the building programme would still go ahead – but in a scaled down form.

“We are still spending £415m over next few years on school buildings,” he said.

“What we are saying to local authorities though is for the programmes after 2014, they now need to go back to do more work on these, we need then to discuss what is the best way of spending the money we have.”