‘It’s Just a Load of Fresh Air’

The Government has publicly announced its decision to pull funding on the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme a few weeks ago, this has rippled through the construction industry and has generally been seen as a disaster for the UK ailing construction industry. But news is not always as it seems and again we need to look deeper into what is happening within Government and the construction industry itself.

There are many schools which have been approved to go ahead and these will provide business for the short term ensuring continued construction work. For most of us, where our products are used at later times within the construction cycle, we can see this business holding well into 2011. But if the occasional poorly balanced newscasts covering BSF is to be believed, there will be very little if anything after this time.

We make this assumption based on the BSF programme being the only programme led by a government initiative, whilst it is the biggest programme it is not the only one, and whilst spending in the sector will no doubt be reduced in the coming years, we can be happy that the schools business will continue to provide business for our construction industry for many years to come.

Whilst BSF has been cut as stated, this was not the only school building programme. Partnerships for Schools, (PfS) is responsible for the management and delivery of the government's capital investment programmes’ into schools. This includes: Building Schools for the Future; the Academies Programme; the Primary Capital Programme; Devolved Capital Programmes; Targeted Capital Programmes; and the Co-location fund. At this stage the Government has made it clear that BSF is likely to be drastically cut, but there has been no mention on the other programmes - until recently.

A recent press release on the Department for Education website at http://www.education.gov.uk/news/press-notices-new/bsf-sample-schools Sorry for the long link, but this release states that out of 271 schools planned and which are pending funding, 196 are to go ahead with 75 being left for the upcoming spending review, primarily the BSF programme – that’s almost 75% still going ahead as planned. This makes far better reading, even though it may not make the headlines.

Teachers are today well aware that well designed school buildings, with well ventilated learning spaces have a very positive outcome on learning and ultimately discipline within education. The coalition Government are also committed to equipping our developing youngsters with the tools for a successful future in order to create wealth for the UK, so school building must continue in order to meet this goal.

Perhaps this is not headline news, but more positive news for the construction industry. We should be looking at a little less ‘hot air’ and more ‘fresh air’ for the future - a statement we are passionate about at SE Controls!

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