Labour claims more Tory councils want to sell-off school playing fields

Seven times as many Conservative councils want to sell-off school playing fields as Labour councils, according to research by the latter.

Figures showed that of 35 decisions made by ministers on disposing of school playing fields since the general election, 30 applications to the Government were from Tory councils, four from Labour and one from a Liberal Democrat authority.

It follows news last week that the education department got its maths wrong by saying only 21 pitches had been sold (HW, 17 August). Further controversy followed with the easing of rules on the amount of open space per school pupil.

Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said: "These figures show the effect a Tory council can have. It flies in the face of David Cameron's assurances about our Olympic legacy. The blame lies with the Government, which has cut the schools capital budget by two-thirds. The education secretary is out of touch with the wishes of parents."

The Conservative Party countered the opposition's claim, saying Labour sold off more than 200 playing fields in office and the coalition only approved sales if schools closed, merged or equal or better facilities replaced the sold fields.

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