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Mon October 26 2020

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Sandwell joins BSF legal scrap

7 Oct 10 Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council has become the fourth local authority to begin legal proceedings against the Government's decision to scrap its Building Schools for the Future programme (BSF).

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council has become the fourth local authority to begin legal proceedings against the Government's decision to scrap its Building Schools for the Future programme (BSF).

Earlier this week, councils from Nottingham, Luton and Waltham Forest announced legal action over the cancelling of their own BSF schemes.

Now, Sandwell has decided to seek a judicial review on Education Secretary Michael Gove's decision to pull the plug on nine BSF projects in the borough.

The local authority initially thought its BSF programme had escaped the axe, but an error by the Department of Education meant it was left off the original list published of schemes affected.

Justifying the legal proceedings, Sandwell claimed it was ready to proceed with the projects before 1 January 2010 but did not do so as it had to follow the schedule laid out by Partnerships for Schools.

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"We are taking legal action because the Government's decision is irrational, unfair and shortsighted," council leader Darren Cooper said.

"Why did they chose 1 January as the cut off date? Was it just plucked out of the air? If we had been told that was the deadline we would have met it.

"Instead we did what we were told and spent money on preparatory work in good faith. Given the circumstances we believe we have no alternative but to mount a legal challenge.”

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