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Building Schools for the Future Programme

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps Partnerships for Schools is taking to support the Schools Capital programme in the current economic situation; and if he will make a statement. (255279)

Partnerships for Schools is working closely with the Department and HM Treasury to ensure that the programme continues to deliver on time and on budget.

Despite what continue to be challenging economic conditions, 2009 has begun on a more positive note for BSF than anticipated, with a number of banks indicating they are in the market to finance senior debt in BSF schemes. In addition, companies from beyond the banking sector are showing an interest in entering the market. Discussions are also ongoing with the European Investment Bank.

PfS is also exploring with the Department and HM Treasury the option of accessing the shorter term debt market to support PFI schemes. This would involve refinancing schemes at seven or 10 years.

Against this backdrop, BSF continues to deliver. Deals have closed throughout the autumn and now into 2009, with the latest deal to close in Tameside, bringing the total to twenty-nine. Nearly a third of all secondary schools in England are now engaged in BSF, with the 50th school having now opened.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the budget for the Building Schools for the Future programme; and when he expects the budget for 2009-10 to be allocated. (256874)

As an outcome of the comprehensive spending review 2007, the Department announced new capital resources of £9.3 billion, including £3.4 billion of PFI credits, for the Building Schools for the Future and Academies programmes for the current period 2008-09 to 2010-11. These resources, together with BSF resources of some £6 billion made available in the last spending period, are being allocated to BSF projects in the first six waves of the programme. This Government are committed to the continuation of these programmes to renew the secondary schools’ estate to provide 21st century facilities for all of our young people, and we will continue to review future requirements in the light of the next spending review exercise for 2011-12 and beyond.