Herts Lib Dems Disappointed as Tories Short Change Schools to Support Bigger Profits for Housing Developers

L School Placesib Dems were disappointed, but not surprised, when Hertfordshire Tories effectively voted to increase property developer profits by reducing the amount they have to pay to provide school places.

Counties can fix the amount of contribution developers must pay for new schools from within a range set by the Government. The Tory change in contribution, from the upper end of the range allowed in the regulations to the bottom end, was proposed by officers because it was 'too difficult to argue' after neighbouring authorities and the Government's own agency, the Education & Skills Funding Authority (ESFA), allowed developers to contribute the lowest possible amount for building schools to the lower specification.

Paul Zukowskyj, Shadow Cabinet Resources Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats commented: "I want the very best for our children. Officers should ask for the standard that the County set just two years ago, because if they ask for less they most certainly won't get more!
"It would probably surprise no-one that some of the developers, and the major shareholders behind them, who stand to potentially benefit from this change are also major donors to the Conservative cause."
Lib Dem County Councillor for Tring & the Villages, Nick Hollinghurst, added: "This unneccessary change produces no financial benefit for the County at all. It's too small to make the houses any more affordable but it does reduce County's ability to respond to increased demand for school places.
"A bit more profit for developers - but a lot more grief for families unable to get convenient school places for their children.
Local people will be, rightly, angry at this uncalled for cut."