City council agrees £15m schools boost for Portsmouth

Plans to pump millions of pounds into improving schools across Portsmouth have been given the green light
Plans to pump millions of pounds into improving schools across Portsmouth have been given the green light
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PLANS to pump millions of pounds into improving schools across Portsmouth have been given the green light.

Proposals by Portsmouth City Council’s Tory administration to invest £15m in building new schools were backed at last night’s full council debate.

The surge will see cash going towards boosting facilities to create 1,000 additional secondary school places in the city.

A further £3.4m will be spent on building additional school places for children with autism, while £125,000 will go towards creating a new ‘forest school’ in the city.

The lion’s share of the cash – more than £10.2m – will be used to create additional secondary school places, with £2m being injected into Redwood Park Academy to bolster its provision for special needs pupils.

City Conservative boss, Councillor Donna Jones said the authority was pumping in £40.7m into improvements across city services, while cutting £4m from its budget.

She said: ‘We are proposing spending £15m on schools. That will mean that since we have been the administration, this council will have spent over £50m on improving school buildings and securing new school places.’

Cllr Jones added that although £4m was being slashed from its revenue budget, in real terms, only four per cent of this was an actual cut to services, with the rest of the savings having already been found through improved efficiencies and income generation.

In an unusual twist, there was little resistance from other political parties over the Tory’s capital plan – what they will spend on the city.

This was ushered in unanimously, with Ukip fully backing the Tories.

However, the Lib Dems and Labour did attempt to table minor amendments to readjust cash expenditure.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem boss, said allocating £500,000 on yet-to-be-finalised pavement work in Commercial Road is cash that could be better used elsewhere.

While Labour leader Councillor Stephen Morgan called for a reduction in the cabinet and demanded greater focus on adult social care.

Both amendments were rejected in a vote.