19 July 2010 | Angeline Albert
Capital spending on young people’s services is the latest area to take a hit as the Department for Education works to make “significant savings against its 2010-11 capital budgets”.
UK local authorities received details of £169.5 million capital spending cuts in a letter sent by education secretary Michael Gove.
The letter states that the latest round of cuts includes:
• cancelling capital investment in school swimming pools to save £15 million.
• reducing schools’ technology grant for IT infrastructure projects to save £50 million.
• removing a social work IT support fund worth 15 million.
• removing £13 million for a youth capital fund.
• not funding pilot project work on energy efficient schools in eco towns to save £2.5 million.
In addition to these reductions, contracts for building children’s playgrounds will also be cut, although the government could not disclose by how much. No new public or school playgrounds are to be built until further notice. The letter said: “The government believes that play is an important part of childhood and child development. However, play has to make its contribution to tackling the deficit along with other important programmes.”
The Department for Education will keep capital grants that have not been spent or where there is “no strong case to continue” contractual commitments. The contractual commitments relating to all sites where construction has not begun will be reviewed.
The letter later went on to say: “While this is only a small proportion of the total savings that the department must make, we appreciate the difficulties that these decisions will cause. We ask local authorities to be as flexible as possible in prioritising their available funding from all sources, including the unringfenced single capital pot.”