Government backs down on school cash grab

Tuesday, 30 October, 2007

David Ruffley MP has today spoken of his delight at the fact that the Government has backed down on the decision to raid school budgets, deducting 5 per cent of any surplus every year for the next three years, following lobbying from David and other Conservative MPs.

David said:

'This Government is a complete shambles.

'David Cameron challenged Gordon Brown on the clawing back of school surpluses during Prime Minister's Questions last week and I highlighted the impact this would have on schools here in Suffolk- now the Government has backed down and conceded they were wrong.

'I am delighted that they have given in to lobbying from me and other Conservative MPs- this ludicrous idea should never have seen the light of day.

'However, the Government has not dropped this idea entirely. Ministers have warned they may act in future if excessive surpluses are not reduced.

'An 'excessive' surplus is defined by the Department for Children, Schools and Families as more than 5% of the budget for a secondary school and more than 8% for a primary or special school - after taking into account money committed to specific projects.

'Head teachers should have the authority to spend their money as they see fit and not have it decided by faceless bureaucrats in Whitehall.

'I will continue to monitor this important issue and will be doing my utmost to ensure that any decisions taken are in the best interests of Suffolk schools.'