Our schools in Leeds are bursting at the seams yet ill thought-out legislation is standing in the way of delivering children’s education.
The Government passed legislation in the last Parliament removing the ability of our local (and the key to this problem is the word local) authority to build any new schools.
Yet we are witnessing a boom in the number of children being born at the same time as school buildings were shut down or sold off.
Meanwhile, the same Government that is prohibiting the local authority from providing more places where they are needed, is encouraging the setting up of Free Schools in places where there is no surplus in demand for places - the decision being made on the perceived need to set up new schools because the standard of teaching may be better.
Such is the preposterousness of the situation that Leeds City Council says it is facing a £67m shortfall to build enough classroom places for our children over the next 10 years.
We need around 600 additional classroom places provided every year for the next 10 years just to keep pace with the growth in population.
So what is the answer? Ask families to move where Free Schools are being built? Or require the Government to only allow new schools where the need is greatest - and surely the local authority is best placed to know where.
Sky is the limit for city’s ambition
The decision by Sky to set up its digital hub in Leeds, with the potential to create 400 jobs is a major breakthrough for the city.
That such a major international player as Sky has chosen our city is a signpost that we can and should aim to position ourself as a global hub for digital industries.
It would once and for all prove that we had moved from our legacy industries and are ready to lead the world again in technology development.
The associated benefits from Sky will be subsidiary and support companies also investing in our city, bringing more jobs and a talented, skilled workforce to live here too.