Michael Gove overspends on consultants at expense of pupils, says Labour

 

Michael Gove’s department is breaking its own agreed spending deals with the Treasury by going £114m over budget through its use of private-sector consultants and contractors, Labour claims.

The Department for Education (DfE) last night insisted the overspend was “essential” and approved by the Cabinet Office, after Labour published details of what it claims are a series of breaches of Treasury spending rules. The “approved exemptions” included £100,000 on website advisors, £8.2m on a computer procurement project, and a rise in outside agency staff and contractors that has taken this part of the DfE’s annual internal bill from £80,000 to £328,000.

Despite Mr Gove’s promises to the Treasury that he would reduce the headcount in his department, the total staffing  bill for the DfE has increased by almost £500,000 to £11.3m.

The shadow education secretary, Stephen Twigg, called the budget rises on consultants and contractors “reckless”. He said money used for private consultants and  marketing uncovered inside Mr Gove’s department should have been used to address the shortage of primary school places.

With only a month until the new school year begins in England, education analysts predict a potential shortage of school places for up to a quarter of a million first-year primary school pupils. Given the average cost of building a new primary school for 200 pupils, the internal overspend could have meant an additional 10,000 places.

A DfE spokesman dismissed the accusation of waste as “nonsense” and said Labour was in no position to criticise after wasting billions on the Building Schools for the Future programme,  which “didn’t build a single extra school place”: “We are making huge efficiency savings and have introduced significant restrictions so only the most essential spending goes for Cabinet Office approval. Since 2010-11 the DfE has reduced admin costs by £120m a year, a 26 per cent reduction in real terms, and it will be reduced by nearly £175m a year, 50 per cent in real terms, by 2014-15.”

News
newsVideo targets undecided voters
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Life and Style
Cooked up: reducing dietary animal fat might not be as healthy as government advice has led millions of people to believe
healthA look at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
News
Evan Spiegel, the founder of Snapchat, dropped out of Stanford University just before graduation to develop his app
techAnd yes, it is quite a lot
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant We are curr...

SEN Tutor- Speech and Language Specialist part time

£80 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

ESOL Tutor

£80 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are lookin...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant We are curr...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis