21 September 2009 | Jake Kanter
Procurement could spearhead plans to save £2 billion in the UK's education sector over the next three years.
Speaking yesterday on the BBC's Politics Show, schools minister Ed Balls said schools could save 10 per cent of their annual £7.8 billion budget through collaborative purchasing.
This would be mean schools clubbing together to buy goods and services including energy and cleaning. Balls said the procurement savings would help free up funds for the frontline.
It echoes the findings of a report by the Audit Commission in June, which said schools could save £400 million a year through more efficient spending (Web news, 1 July).
Other savings under Balls' proposals would be made by keeping teachers' pay low, and potentially axing up to 3,000 senior positions, such as head teachers.
Teaching unions and opposition parties have criticised the plans. In an interview with Sky News, shadow chancellor George Osborne said: "Just a couple of months ago he [Balls] was promising real increases in the schools budget in the months ahead, and the years ahead, so there's a total credibility gap."