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Emily Brothers Blasts Desperate Lib Dem Smokescreen over Funding Diverted from Primary to Free School Places


Tuesday 13 May 2014


Responding to reports that Michael Gove raided the Targeted Basic Need programme budget by £400 million to plug a black hole in the Free School programme, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Sutton and Cheam, Emily Brothers, blasted the Coalition last night, saying:

“Make no mistake; the Liberal Democrats are locked-in to the failing Free School programme. They gave it their stamp of approval from the start. They are as much to blame as the Tories. They are culpable in the decision to re-allocate money away from areas like Sutton where there are huge pressures on primary school places.

“This is acute in Sutton due to an influx of people moving to the borough because of its good schools. Bandon Hill, The Avenue, Amy Johnson and St Mary's primary schools have all been expanded in the last year and temporary 'bulge' classes added elsewhere.

“Sutton’s new Council will need to take a more strategic approach and prioritise this crisis as forecasts predict a 3,000 place shortfall at the borough's primary schools by 2016. The same applied to secondary schools, not helped by over 70% of pupils coming from outside the borough.”

“The Paul Burstow-Scully duo need to explain their support for directing £400 million away from new school places at a time when Sutton faces a crisis in primary provision.”

A National Audit Office (NAO) report ‘Establishing Free Schools’ reveals that more than two-thirds of all of the places created by the Free Schools (FS) programme have been diverted away from areas of high and severe primary need. Ms Brothers said:

“It just isn’t credible for Mr Burstow to attempt to distance himself at this late stage, in what appears to be a desperate effort to withstand the collapsing Lib Dem vote anticipated at next week’s Local Election in Sutton.

 “Local hard working families tell me about the worries they have over getting a place at all, with many unhappy about the offers they have received. Instead of supporting children and their families at this difficult time, the Lib Dems prefer to hide behind their Tory friends – as they lack courage, ambition and a plan.


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