A change of government also poses a downside risk to project starts in the education sector, according to Glenigan. Whilst Conservative policies support continued investment in education to drive up standards, this support does not automatically apply to existing capital programmes such as BSF.
Indeed the party is proposing a redirection of the £4 billion Academies Programme; initially towards 12 new schools in the largest urban areas, with further schools to follow. The flow of new projects is likely to be disrupted post-election as existing programmes are reassessed in light of funding restrictions and the new Government’s longer term ambitions.
The latter includes increasing the number of new school places by over 20,000 and radically reforming the education system. In particular LEAs would lose their overarching responsibility for the management of schools, and new private sector firms and not-for-profit organisations would be allowed to set up new schools. The Conservatives have earmarked £4.5 billion of funding from the BSF programme to establish such schools.