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Labour under fire over for scrapping 21st Century school funding

15/07/2022

Labour’s Education Minister has come under fire for  effectively  scrapping the national school building programme, 21st century schools.  Leighton Andrews is facing criticism for failing to support local authorities in developing new and improved schools.

Plaid Cymru’s Education spokesperson, Simon Thomas AM, said this decision is completely unacceptable.  Mr Thomas accused Labour of breaking their election promise to shield Wales from Westminster cuts by waving a white flag on school funding.

 

Simon Thomas AM said:

"There is no doubt that Tory-Lib Dem cuts have created a funding problem in Wales.  However, simply saying the environment has changed is not good enough.  Labour said that they would shield Wales from Westminster cuts but here they are raising the white flag.  Parents across Wales will rightfully be asking why the government continually make statements about supporting school improvements but do not contribute the capital funding required to deliver progress. 

 

"The Minister has said he wants local authorities to find extra money to pay for these schools but he knows that money also comes from their grant from the Welsh government in the first place.  In effect, the current scheme has been abandoned by the Minister with only vague promises and hopes to put in its place. 

"This serves to show that the bluster by the Minister over excess school places and his tactics in embarassing local authorities to take action on this is empty rhetoric as he has no firm plans to tackle the capital deficiet this year. Next year will be local elections and any decision-making will be closely scrutinised by Plaid Cymru to ensure there is no party political advantage being sought from our children's education

"The result of this will inevitably be even greater uncertainty on a local level which is not in the interests of anyone.  Councillors, teachers, parents and pupils are all being left in limbo as a result of the Minister’s indecision.  This is totally unacceptable by Labour.

"The applications from local authorities have been on the Minister’s table for months.  There is a recognised need to improve infrastructure and modernise across the education system.  The lack of support from the Labour government in delivering for local people only serves to undermine this aim."