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Edinburgh ducks closures for a year

School closures in Edinburgh may have to be reconsidered next year after this week's decision by Labour councillors to abandon plans to shut six primaries, one secondary and two nurseries despite facing a cut of up to Pounds 12 million in the city's budget for education.

Elizabeth Maginnis, the city's education convener, who had been lobbying hard for rationalisation of provision, admitted: "There was little enthusiasm among the Labour group who were clearly weighing up the sums. We would have only saved Pounds 250,000 next year, leading up to savings of Pounds 1.4 million in the year 2000."

Mrs Maginnis admitted the decision would leave the education committee with difficulties next year but said Edinburgh's problems were not on the same scale as Glasgow's.

The proportion of surplus places across the capital is put at 17 per cent, against 40 per cent in Glasgow.

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