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JUNE BUDGET: BSF escapes axe

The £55 billion Building Schools for the Future programme appeared to have escaped chancellor George Osborne’s axe – at least until the autumn.

Contractors and economists had been expecting heavy cuts to spending through the Labour-led BSF programme, which aims to renew the country’s secondary school estate by 2023, at today’s Budget.

But Mr Osborne did not mention the scheme during his hour-long speech, and pledged there would be no further capital spending cuts until the autumn.

The full Budget report said: “This Budget takes urgent action to eliminate the bulk of the structural deficit through plans for additional consolidation of £40bn per year by 2014/15.

“These plans include £32bn per year by 2014/15 from spending reductions. This includes £30bn of current spending reductions and no further reductions in capital spending beyond those already announced.”

Mr Osborne announced that the Spending Review would be on 20 October. All departments other than those dealing with health and overseas aid will then have to reduce their spending by an average of 25 per cent.