More misery for H&F schools after government tax hike

H&F Council is urging the government to think again on its disastrous increases to schools’ business rates which could see pupils’ education suffer.

This month is the first time business rates have increased since 2010 and H&F schools are being hit with a massive hike of nearly 23 per cent.

It comes at a time when the government is planning to cut their budgets by nearly three per cent.

“Schools across Hammersmith & Fulham are bearing the brunt of a double whammy of cuts from the government,” said Cllr Sue Fennimore, H&F Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion.

“At the same time as school budgets are at risk of swingeing government funding reductions, they are also having to cover the costs of sky-rocketing business rate rises. As ever, schools in boroughs like H&F are hardest hit – and as ever, it will be local children who pay the highest price.

“The current situation is simply not sustainable, and the confused answers from government departments are as muddled as they are unhelpful.”

The business rates rise comes as schools’ costs are already soaring. Over the past three years they’ve risen by 10 per cent.

If the planned three per cent cut in funding is implemented on top of this, small primary schools would face a financial burden of over £100,000 per year – before the increased business rate rises are factored in. In a secondary school this would mean an even larger financial squeeze.

More than 400 people attended a public meeting at Hammersmith Town Hall to oppose the planned funding cuts. It followed a letter from almost 50 H&F headteachers urging the government not to implement them.

Schools are now waiting for the government’s decision on whether they will make the cuts.