THE Prime Minister’s pledge of more than £1 billion for crumbling schools has drawn a lukewarm response from Brighton’s three MPs and the city council.

They say investment is desperately needed and “long overdue”.

Yesterday, Boris Johnson announced a £1 billion drive to improve school facilities and spruce up classrooms over the next ten years. There will be an additional £560 million to repair deteriorating school buildings.

Downing Street said the cash injection would see the first 50 school building projects begin as soon as September 2021.

The scheme is part of an infrastructure spending blitz Mr Johnson hopes will revitalise the country’s battered economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

But MPs in Brighton say school buildings have been left “falling apart” and “overcrowded” for years without the help they need.

Brighton and Hove City Council said investment in school infrastructure was “crucial and long overdue”. It said it is waiting for the Government to explain what the announcement could mean for schools in the city.

The Argus: Caroline Lucas

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, slammed the Government for failing to recognise the scale of the problem.

She said: “For years I’ve been hearing from desperate headteachers in the city about school buildings simply falling apart, and some of the difficult decisions they have had to consider, like selling off school playing fields for private development.

“With more than 50 schools in Brighton and Hove alone, the Government agreeing to fund 50 school building projects nationally via a ten-year programme just shows that the Prime Minister has no real grasp on the scale of the problem, or what’s needed.”

The Argus:

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, said schools had been left overlooked and overcrowded and said this was now making social distancing a struggle.

He welcomed the funding, but said the money should have been invested in the 2000s. “We need it spent here in Sussex,” he said.

The Argus:

Peter Kyle, the Labour MP for Hove and Portslade, said: “Let’s remember that before Covid the Save Our Schools campaign in the city was highlighting that Brighton and Hove schools lost more than £15 million between 2015 and 2019. Their banners around the school buildings were displaying the huge figures each school had lost in funding. So I welcome the money announced by the Government, even if it should have come in 2015 not 2020.”