Fair result on school rebuilds

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THERE will be sighs of relief in many Sheffield homes today as parents learn that plans to rebuild six secondary schools across the city are safe from being drastically scaled back.

That was the fear over the £68 million Building Schools for the Future programme after the new coalition government asked the local council to go back over its proposals and ensure that all the work they proposed was essential.

This job has now been completed and officers from the council have met with the funding body Partnership for Schools to reach an agreement that the scheme can go ahead with only minor modifications.

It means that between three and five per cent of the costs have been shaved from the overall programme which will see the completion of work on upgrading Bradfield, Handsworth Grange, Notre Dame, Birley, Meadowhead and Westfield. The latter two have already been rebuilt but the costs is for improvements to IT systems.

In all cases, though, it became clear that the programme was at such an advanced stage that major cutbacks would not be possible.

This is a fair result and one which ought to have been obvious to Whitehall at the start of this episode. We hope lessons have been learned.

Invest now to enjoy nuclear rewards

THE expertise of South Yorkshire manufacturers is well documented and it is welcome news to hear they are perfectly placed to play a part in the building of the UK’s new nuclear power stations.

So says the man heading the procurement drive for Europe’s leading nuclear power plant developer.

Today’s Star Business features EDF Energy’s Alan Cumming, who sees the new nuclear industry as a huge opportunity for specialist engineering companies in this region – now they have to step up to the mark.

We have every confidence in the skills of their staff and hope the manufacturers are given the investment needed to meet what sounds like a hugely rewarding challenge.

Share the pain

POLICE officers are understandably concerned about a review into their pay and conditions which, it is claimed, will leave around 40 per cent of them worse off. But they must realise that they are not being singled out but simply expected to take some of the pain being felt elsewhere in the public and private sectors. We all appreciate the job done by our officers. However, their terms and conditions are regarded as highly generous by those who foot the bill, the public. And it is only right that they accept that the current economic climate cannot continue to match arrangements made in rosier times.