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Lea Funding

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 24 September 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what criteria are laid down by his Department for LEAs obtaining support for bids under the New Deal scheme for replacing old school buildings; and if he will make a statement. [17024]

We issued guidance to Local Education Authorities (LEAs) on how to bid for the next tranche of New Deal for Schools funding on 5 November. In deciding allocations, we shall consider LEAs plans to meet their most urgent building needs as a whole. We are asking LEAs to assess the condition of their school buildings objectively in four priority bands. This will allow us to compare the needs of LEAs consistently across the country.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the procedure followed by his Department in approving funding for design work on the replacement of old school buildings and in allocating funding for the replacement of such schools. [17025]

For county schools, we do not allow separately for design fees when we allocate Annual Capital Guidelines (ACGs) or Supplementary Credit Approvals (SCAs); design fees are part of the project costs which LEAs meet from borrowing and other sources of funding at their disposal. For voluntary aided and special agreement schools, LEAs may bid for grant aid for design fees in the annual capital bidding round in October each year or, in the case of statutory proposals, before publication. The annual bidding letter sets out the priorities for distributing resources to schools. Authorities may bid to replace a school in the Exceptional Basic Need (EBN) category. EBN funding is only given if the building will have to be taken out of use within the next twelve months; repair is impracticable; and no alternative provision exists.For New Deal for Schools allocations in 1997–98, we gave priority to bids to cover the development costs of innovative Public Private Partnerships and building work which could be completed between 30 September 1997 and 31 March 1998. No whole-school replacements were supported.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list those schemes included in the 1997–98 financial year bids for school replacements which are due for completion by 31 March 1998. [17026]

No Annual Capital Guideline or Supplementary Credit Approval cover, grant aid for governors costs, or grant through the New Deal for Schools is being provided in 1997–98 for whole school replacements scheduled for completion before 31 March 1998.