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Delay to schools building programme

The next stage of the government’s £2 billion privately financed schools building programme has been delayed until the New Year, H&V News has learnt.

The government was due to announce which schools projects would be funded through the Priority Schools Building Programme this month.

But officials at the Department for Education are still ploughing through applications and a spokeswoman said an announcement was not expected until January.

It is unclear whether this will affect the procurement timetable, which Treasury commercial secretary Lord Sassoon last month insisted would begin on schedule in the spring.

The PSBP was announced by education secretary Michael Gove in July as part of the replacement for the scrapped Building Schools for the Future programme.

The government expects to attract private finance to fund up to 300 schools projects through the initiative.

Meanwhile, it is understood no final decisions have been made about how the £1.2bn announced by the Treasury this week will be distributed.

It is likely the academies framework will be one of a number of routes used to procure £600m of free schools work, while individual councils will choose how to spend £600m on urgently needed spaces.