Editor's comment: DfE's impunity over BSix is outrageous
PUBLISHED: 16:05 30 May 2018
It is outrageous to see BSix denied more than £2million, and Hackney denied more affordable housing, thanks to what looks very much like bullying by the Department for Education.
I mean this as no slight on the Olive School – but for a free school with minimal public involvement to be given preferential treatment over a housing association in the name of keeping resources in public hands is absurd.
London is facing a housing crisis, and Hackney has a waiting list of thousands. The Olive School already has a building – the old police station, a piece of public land costing the DfE millions of pounds (and, by all accounts, millions of pounds too much when a more affordable site could have been obtained).
Meg Hillier is right to challenge the government over its use of public funds and the way it has treated the college, and I look forward to seeing the DfE forced to say something more meaningful than “we want to provide good value for the taxpayer”.
• It was a delight to see three community heroes and heroines receive civic awards at Hackney Town Hall on Wednesday night. I’m proud and honoured to have been invited to help judge them.
(It was even more of a delight that, unlike Islington – whose civic awards I also help judge every year – Hackney doesn’t require me to give a speech, which will have made the evening about 100 per cent better for everyone, even though there are other parts of the council AGM that are almost as eye-wateringly tedious as me.)
We can get carried away reporting bad news, but local journalism is about celebrating the best of our borough, too – about inspiring gratitude and championing those too modest to blow their own trumpets. I’m thrilled to have been asked to play a part.
For a free school to be given preferential treatment over a housing association in the name of keeping resources in public hands is absurd