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LONDON BOROUGHS CALL ON GOVERNMENT TO LIFT GRANT CONDITIONS ON EDUCATION CASH

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London boroughs have asked the government to lift grant conditions attached to extra education funding. ...
London boroughs have asked the government to lift grant conditions attached to extra education funding.

In a letter to education secretary David Blunkett, the Association of London Government welcomed the government's decision to distribute an extra£50m to local authorities to support schools.

However, the ALG expressed concern that in order to receive their share of the extra funding, councils will have to guarantee to increase education spending in line with increases in standard spending assessments set by the government.

'Many London boroughs are facing acute spending pressures arising from other statutory duties, such as the unsubsidised revenue costs of housing homeless families, and the costs of providing support to asylum seekers. Where expenditure is not met fully by central government, authorities must fund the difference through increases in council tax and by reassessing budgetary provision for all services,' wrote ALG chair Toby Harris.

'The funding pressures on London boroughs can be very severe, affecting some boroughs disproportionately,' added Mr Harris. 'In these and other circumstances, increasing education spending in line with standard spending assessments cannot always be guaranteed because of the implications this might have for the provision of other front line services like social services.'

Toby Harris concluded by emphasising the ALG's support for the government's policy of prioritising improvements in education, and pointed out that most London boroughs have made a significant investment in developing and improving services in line with the government's policy objectives.

'It would be disappointing if small disagreements over technicalities like grant conditions got in the way of our shared aims,' he said.

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