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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 January, 2005, 21:26 GMT
56m offer after PFI scheme fails
Schools in need of repair, which were hit by the collapse of a Private Finance Initiative project, could be bailed out by a 56m government grant.

Teachers and pupils in the 37 Norfolk County Council schools feared a long wait after a PFI scheme was abandoned last year.

It collapsed after Jarvis, which won the main part of the contract, could not find a building company partner.

Now the council has the option to use the grant or find another PFI partner.

This has been a long and painful process but we do at last appear to be coming through it
Rosalie Monbiot, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for education
When the contract collapsed in November it was feared that major repairs could be delayed until 2008.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) has offered the council 56m for a non-PFI scheme which could allow work to start in 2006.

He said the original 92m PFI scheme cannot be directly compared to the 56m as it also included long term maintenance over a 25 year period.

The council believes that the 56m still falls short of the amount needed to help all the schools in the PFI scheme.

Rosalie Monbiot, council cabinet member for education, said: "This is good news, and means we now know what options we have.

"This is an unusual step for the DfES to offer, capital support for a previous PFI scheme.

"This has been a long and painful process but we do at last appear to be coming through it.

"At the time, we had no choice but to travel down the PFI route as there was no viable alternative that could put enough money into buildings in Norfolk."

County addresses schools crisis
13 Dec 04 |  Norfolk
Failed schools deal costs 1.7m
08 Dec 04 |  Norfolk
Jarvis axed from 92m school deal
08 Nov 04 |  Business
Jarvis to sell PFI bidding unit
13 Oct 04 |  Business
Council cancels Jarvis contract
05 Aug 04 |  England

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