Michael Gove has issued a defiant statement insisting that no Building Schools for the Future project has necessarily been saved, despite today’s High Court ruling.
Mr Justice Holman said the schools secretary had acted unlawfully towards six local authorities who had school rebuilding and refurbishment programmes axed in July and called on him to review the decisions.
In a written ministerial statement following the ruling, Mr Gove said “substantive points” in the case had been found in his favour but acknowledged the judge had found his consultation with the councils did not go far enough.
Mr Gove said his staff would now be contacting Luton Council, Kent CC, Nottingham City Council, Sandwell MBC, and Waltham Forest and Newham LBCs to arrange talks.
He said: “The Judge has not ordered a reinstatement of funding for any BSF project. Nor has he ordered me to pay compensation to any of the claimants.
“Instead, he has concluded that I ‘must now, after giving each of them a reasonable opportunity to make representations, reconsider [my] decision insofar as it affects the claimants and each of the projects in relation to which they have claimed, with an open mind, paying due regard to any representations they may make, and rigorously discharging [my] equalities duties’.”
Mr Gove said he was “happy to do so” but insisted he would retain the final say in whether any of the stalled schools projects went ahead.
He said: “[The judge] has made clear that provided I discharge my duties in this way, ‘the final decision on any given school or project still rests with [me]’; and that I ‘may save all, some, a few, or none’.
“He concluded by saying that “no one should gain false hope from this decision”.
To read Mr Gove’s full statement see file at right.