Blunkett gets tough over councils' cash

19th March 1999 at 00:00
EIGHTEEN councils have been told by David Blunkett to devote all of their education allocation to schools- or answer to teachers, governors, parents and Parliament.

The Education Secretary has written to local authorities urging them to reconsider their budgets for next year.

But the action - believed to have no legal standing - provoked anger from social services departments who say he has exceeded his powers.

Now Mr Blunkett has told councils to ensure all the cash increase in education standard spending assessments is spent on education services as the Government intends.

In response, Chris Davies, president of the Association of Directors of Social Services, said: "All local authorities recognise the importance of education spending. However David Blunkett does seem to be going beyond his remit."

Several of the authorities to receive the letter are already spending above SSA - the level that the Government believes necessary for education. Others had faced cuts in the social services grant for children in care.

And said Mr Davies: "For some authorities, the only way they could put more into education next year would be by cutting back on their other big area of spending which is social services.

"Should local authorities now be expecting a similar letter from Frank Dobson, the Health Secretary? Where would all this stop?" The 18 councils which were sent letters are Brent, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cumbria, Dorset, Hackney, Hertfordshire, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Redbridge, Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Walsall, Waltham Forest, West Sussex and Wiltshire.

Analysts suggest the Government is under great pressure to pump extra money into schools from April so that it can meet its pledge to cut infant class sizes to 30 or fewer pupils.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today