Budget 2017: Councils respond to education funding announcement

Press release 8 March 2017

Responding to the Government's education funding announcement in today's Spring Budget, Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the LGA's Children and Young People's Board, said: 

"Whilst today's announcement that additional funding will be provided to establish new schools and repair existing schools is positive, as a result of the rising demand for school places councils must be given back powers and be appropriately funded so that they can directly commission the building of new schools.

"According to the National Audit Office's most recent report, £6.7 billion is needed to rebuild dilapidated schools across the country. The additional £216 million announced by the Chancellor today is a step in the right direction, however, government must commit to devolving school capital funding to a single local pot to allow schools and councils to work together to tackle local challenges.

"Councils have a statutory duty to ensure every child has a school place available to them but they fear that they will no longer be able to meet the rising costs for the creation of places if they aren't given the money or powers to do so, and have to continue to rely on the Secretary of State in Whitehall to take all the final decisions.

"To ensure new schools are established in the right places and meet the needs of local communities, councils must have a role in determining where new free schools are created. Local authorities know their areas best and are eager to work with applicants with a strong track record to identify potential school sites.

"Councils are clear that they must have a say over whether or not selective schools are introduced in non-selective areas. As champions of local families and children councils should have a say on the type of school introduced to their area, this should not be left to individual free school proposers. 

"While councils are extremely supportive of transport being provided to children most in need, any new provision must be fully funded and not place an additional financial burden on councils."

8 March 2017


Alison Neyle
020 7664 3127