Cash is tight for school repairs;News;News and opinion

26th November 1999 at 00:00
COUNCILS will receive pound;396 million in capital consents from the Scottish Executive to spend on all projects except housing in the financial year beginning in April.

Although this is an 11 per cent increase on the current year, education departments will have to fight for their share. The allocation, while welcomed by the authorities, pales into insignificance against the pound;1 billion backlog in school repairs revealed last month by Peter Peacock, Deputy Children and Education Minister.

The pound;396m also includes next year's pound;27m share of the specific capital allocation for education under the "new deal for schools" fund worth pound;115.7m over five years. In addition, nine authorities are receiving pound;400m towards the cost of building schools under public-private partnerships.

An unallocated sum of pound;26.3m is being held in reserve for next year against capital commitments likely to be incurred by the National Grid for Learning and flood prevention schemes.

Norman Murray, president of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, complained that ministers' grip on budgets is still too tight. He called for a joint investigation with the Executive to quantify the capital expenditure required to fund local services.

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