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School repair budget 'to be slashed'

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Schools will see their budgets for maintenance and repairs slashed by 80% next year as a result of government cuts, Labour has claimed.

Shadow education secretary Andy Burnham accused education secretary Michael Gove of sending schools back to the “dark ages” of crumbling classrooms and inadequate equipment.

Research commissioned from the independent House of Commons Library found that secondary schools would lose on average £86,000 from their budget for building work, repairs and computers. Primary schools will lose an average of £26,000.

“We are looking at a return to the bad old days of the 1980s when children tried to learn in crumbling classrooms with equipment not up to the job,” Mr Burnham said.

“With these cuts Michael Gove is sending schools back to the dark ages.”

Aides to Mr Gove said that the government had already announced that the funds directly allocated to schools would be “much lower” next year.

“The reality is that on average we will be spending more on education capital over the next four years than Labour did in its first two terms,” one aide said.

“But unlike Labour we will be doing it efficiently and quickly and targeting schools most in need. Waste was endemic in Labour’s school building programme.

“We have prioritised frontline education spending and money for the poorest children rather than extravagant and expensive buildings.”

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