Government asks suppliers for 40 per cent savings on schools programme

25 October 2010
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25 October 2010 | Lindsay Clark

Suppliers to the UK government’s schools building programme need to make average savings of around 40 per cent.

The move, which affects about 600 on-going projects, follows the Comprehensive Spending Review, which showed capital spending in education will be reduced by 60 per cent in real terms by 2014-15.

In July, the government opted to axe Labour’s £55 billion Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, ending some of the projects, but committing to a reduced spending on school construction and maintenance.

The Department forEducation now expects suppliers to 600 schools and academies to come up with an average 40 per cent savings on their prices, including reducing scope and submitting new plans for projects. It is understood some suppliers would be expected to save more and some less.  

Speaking on yesterday’s BBC Politics Show, education secretary Michael Gove refused to deny the 40 per cent saving figure. “We’re negotiating now with some of the building companies. This is a time when anyone who’s in negotiations with a building company would be wanting to bring costs down from the level that they might have been paying two or three years ago.”

A Department for Education spokesman said: "The Secretary of State has been clear that school rebuilding will continue but that capital expenditure on schools must be more cost effective given the current financial climate. On 5 July when the Secretary of State made his announcements about the BSF programme, he made clear that where projects were being allowed to proceed, that we would be looking at the scope for savings. He has discussed this already with senior figures in the construction industry about how this best can be achieved, and very much welcomes their positive response to date. Now that the Spending Review has been announced, we are in a position to move forward with this work."

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