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BECTA hits out at imminent closure

Alex Scroxton
BECTA has responded aggressively to the government's plans to kill it off as it cuts £2bn in IT, suppliers and property-related spending.

This forms part of the £6bn total spending cuts announced this morning by the Coalition government as it seeks to slash the UK's deficit.

The government plans to slash £95m through savings in IT spending, £1.7bn from cutting contracts and projects, including immediate negotiations to achieve cost reductions from major suppliers, and £600m from quangos.

In a statement circulated after the announcement, the quango's chief executive, Stephen Crowne, defended the work of the organisation, saying: "Our procurement arrangements save the schools and colleges many times more than BECTA costs to run. Our Home Access programme will give laptops and broadband to over 200,000 of the poorest children."

"Our top priorities now are to make sure we have an orderly and fair process for staff, and that as far as possible schools, colleges and children continue to benefit from the savings and support that BECTA has provided. We will be talking to Government Departments and our other stakeholders including the industry about this," he continued.

According to the BBC, the death of BECTA will account for £65m out of £670m that the Conservative-Liberal government intends to remove from education.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, chief secretary to the treasury David Laws said the plans were purposefully draconian, otherwise "we won't get the step change in behaviour that we expect."

More to follow as the story develops today.
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