21/10/2010 09:56 AM
Chancellor George Osborne addressed a packed Commons chamber to detail what his shadow counterpart, Alan Johnson, called the deepest cuts "in public expenditure that have taken place in living memory".
The government's four-year plan will slash a total of £81 billion from public spending budgets, with public sector jobs, welfare, and police funding particularly hard hit. However, the schools budget for England will be ring-fenced, with extra money for social care.
The headline announcement for schools is that direct funding will rise from £35 billion to £39 billion, although education's overall budget of £57.6 billion will be cut by 3.4 per cent.
While announcing that the "hopelessly inefficient" Building Schools for the Future project will be phased out, the chancellor said that £15.8 billion will be made available to rebuild 600 schools.
Commenting on the announcement, Kate Orviss, a partner at Pinsent Masons, told the Construction Index: "Clarifying that 600 schools will be rebuilt or refurbished is good news but we need to wait and see the detail of how this will be implemented (and when) to assess what opportunities will exist in light of the cuts to the Building Schools for the Future Programme."