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News - 13 May 2014

Dispute over school places funding

The coalition government are split over the issue of school places funding.

Lib Dem sources say 30,000 local authority places are being lost as money is diverted to new free schools. They said Mr Gove was "ideologically obsessed" about backing free schools.

Asked about the issue on BBC, David Cameron said free schools were "an excellent innovation" and he would "get on with delivering what matters, which is good schools for our children".

The Liberal Democrat's deputy leader, Malcolm Bruce, said the budget for free schools was "completely out of control" and accused the education secretary of being "monetarily obsessed".

Mr Bruce said: "Michael Gove needs to be reined back; the programme needs to be properly costed and controlled."

Sources from the Lib Dems say that Mr Gove overruled the Lib Dem schools minister David Laws to take £400m from the Basic Need Budget for 2015-17, to help cover a projected £800m overspend between 2013 and 2016 in the budget of free schools.

Lavinia Newman, founder of ABDS comments:
“Free schools can be set up by parents, teachers, charities, businesses, universities, trusts, religious or voluntary groups, but are funded directly by central government. There are currently 174 free schools in England with another 116 approved to open from this September. It is now evident that the coalition were becoming more willing to air their disagreements and grievances in public a year ahead of the general election and less than two weeks before local and European elections.”

Research last month highlighted by the Labour Party suggested the government was currently funding free schools for 1,500 more pupils than were actually attending.

Labour's shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt, said free schools "had the Lib Dem stamp of approval from day one. "They're as much to blame for the failings as the Tories."

If you need any help and advice with Free Schools, Academy Schools or Charities, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900  E-mail: abds@netaccountants.net

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