Stephen Twigg Backs Conservative School Building Cuts

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Stephen Twigg supports Conservative cuts
Stephen Twigg supports Conservative cuts

The shadow education secretary has said he agrees with more than half of the Government's cuts to school building programmes and admitted Labour did not always get "value for money" in education.

In an interview with The Observer, Stephen Twigg said Labour's Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, which was scrapped by the Coalition, did not always spend money wisely.

The MP added that he would have cut £2bn from the last administration's budget for refurbishing existing schools and building new ones.

"I have accepted that while BSF and other capital programmes did some brilliantly good things - and I have been to some of the schools built under that programme - it didn't always deliver absolute value for money," Twigg said.

"There is scope to do what BSF did at a lower price and there are lessons we can learn from BSF and other projects to achieve greater efficiency."

He added: "I think this is a very, very good example where I can rise, in a sense, to the challenge Ed Miliband has set for all of us in the shadow cabinet."

Education Secretary Michael Gove took the controversial move to scrap the £55 billion BSF programme in July 2010, cancelling projects at more than 700 schools. Under the BSF scheme, every secondary school in England was to be rebuilt or refurbished.

Gove said the programme had been beset by "massive overspends, tragic delays, botched construction projects and needless bureaucracy".

Twigg also told the newspaper he supported Government plans to make it easier for schools to sack poorly performing teachers.

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