Ruffley slams Government as Suffolk schools set to suffer from surplus cash grab

Thursday, 25 October, 2007

David Ruffley MP has today voiced his outrage at Government plans to raid school budgets, and deduct 5 per cent of any surplus every year for the next three years.

This would mean an estimated £228 million in cash will be grabbed back, an average of £10,000 per school in Suffolk.

David has today written to all the schools in his constituency alerting them to this tax on prudent schools and asked how it will impact on their plans for the future.

David said:

'This is completely outrageous- the Government slipped this announcement out before the last parliamentary recess in the hope that nobody would notice.

'This sneaky cash grab will punish prudent schools which save money.

'It is ridiculous to penalise those schools which are saving up for a large capital project, such as a new building.

'I have today alerted all the schools in my constituency to the Government's plans to plunder their bank balance and asked them how it will impact on their planning for future projects.

'To make matters worse this tax on our schools will be retrospective, based on the balances in March 2007 onwards, hitting schools even if they have spent the surplus since then.

'This will in turn create a perverse incentive for schools to spend their surpluses before the end of a financial year. This will undermine long term planning and encourage waste of resources.

'Head teachers are used to money from Gordon Brown coming with strings attached, but now he is attaching an elastic band. Schools across Suffolk which have prudently put aside funds to invest in improving our children's futures now face a smash and grab raid.

'It is unacceptable to force schools to give back money against their will. We should be giving local communities more opportunity and power over their lives, not less, and we need an end to constant state control and meddling from bureaucrats in Whitehall."