LIBERAL Democrats in Whickham, Gateshead, have called on the Labour Party to withdraw claims that a new school is to be built to replace Whickham School this year.
The claims are made by Labour in election leaflets in the three Whickham wards where elections are taking place to Gateshead Council. However, Labour run Gateshead Council itself has confirmed that no new school is being built this year and a new replacement school is unlikely for a decade.
Whickham School’s buildings are, by general agreement, in need of replacement as many are old, worn out and out of date.
The school has been unable to apply for any significant funding in the past decade to replace existing buildings because it was excluded from investment under the “Private Finance Initiative” or “Building Schools for the Future” schemes.
But earlier this year, the government agreed to release £1 million to allow for the refurbishment of the school’s catering facilities and the building of one classroom block to replace some mobile classrooms.
Labour are however spinning this as a replacement of the old school with a new one being built this year.
Whickham Liberal Democrat Councillor Dr Jonathan Wallace said, “This is one of the wildest and most inaccurate claims Labour have come up with in Whickham.
“Labour are spinning the refurbishment of the school’s kitchens as the building of a replacement school this year.
“Parents are undertandably excited about the prospect of a new school but feel bitterly let down when they discover Labour are spinning a story that is very different from reality.
“It seems Labour are prepared to say anything to try to get elected in the Whickham area. But their ridiculous claims are back-firing as people see through them.
“It’s time they withdrew their absurd and misleading spin story.”