Blunkett visits arson scene

20th June 1997 at 01:00
Manchester, often at loggerheads with the previous government, has unveiled its plans for a new era. Nicolas Barnard reports.

Labour has been called to account by a group of Manchester pupils who have told Tony Blair: "Our parents have done something for you; now you do something for us."

They wrote to the newly-elected Prime Minister days after an arson attack on May 16 destroyed three-quarters of their school, Abraham Moss High, and put half the adjoining City College campus out of action.

"We have been told by our parents and teachers (who all voted Labour in the election) that one of your policies was to transfer money from the National Lottery into education and health. Could our school be an example of your goodwill?" they wrote.

In response Education Secretary David Blunkett went to assess for himself the huge community effort going into rebuilding the inner-city school and college, which is likely to take up to two years. He could not offer any money, but he said: "I have nothing but praise for the staff, governors and youngsters who have pulled together to rebuild the phoenix from the ashes."

He also hinted that the Government would be lenient when it came to future funding.

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