In the news this week:
City academy cost £50m- "THE school backed by a millionaire at the centre of Labour’s cash for peerages row is the most expensive state school ever built in Britain, it has emerged.
The Business Academy Bexley... has cost at least £50m in taxpayers’ money. Of this, £35m — almost double the cost of an average secondary school — went on building the school to a glass design by Lord Foster, complete with a mini stock exchange. However, glass-sided classrooms proved noisy and impractical and had to be modified. Sir Cyril Taylor, chairman of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, called glass buildings “hot in the summer, freezing in the winter” and added: “Nasties throw bricks at it.” “Too much of the money has gone on glossy buildings and not enough on improving standards,” said Alan Smithers, professor of education at Buckingham university. “It would have made more sense to have refurbished the existing schools.” (Sunday Times 30.4.06)
£1.5m bailout for another failing academy- "The government agreed a £1.5m bailout of one of the most troubled city academies just 10 days before last year’s general election. The emergency Treasury grant was to Unity city academy in Middlesbrough — which two months earlier had been identified as failing to provide an adequate education. One former Labour councillor in Middlesbrough said: “Academies are very political. It would have been crippling for Labour to have allowed that to happen just before the election.” (Sunday Times 30.4.06)
Public pensions black hole deepens by £7-14 bn- "Overspending on National Health Service pay settlements has deepened the black hole in the Government's public sector pension plans - by £7 billion. Taxpayers will have to cover the cost of the enormous shortfall, caused by a Whitehall "miscalculation". Stephen Yeo, a senior partner at the actuaries firm Watson Wyatt, calculates that the new GP contracts and other NHS awards have added as much as £14 billion to the public pension liability. "These figures are astonishing," said Mr Yeo. "Just one year of NHS pay rise has cost the taxpayer more money than the Government would have saved if it had raised the public retirement age from 60 to 65." (Sunday Telegraph 30.4.06)
Another £2m on consultants at BBC- "It is a relocation plan that is costing millions, may not happen for two years - if ever - and, astonishingly, is engaging the services of up to 15 consultancy firms...used by the BBC to advise on its planned move of three key departments from London to Manchester. They have already cost the licence-payer £1.4 million and BBC insiders predict that the bill could top £2 million by the end of the summer." (Sunday Telegraph 30.4.06)
Total for week- £14.0535 bn