AN MP has welcomed £40m of investment into Mirfield’s schools.
Dewsbury MP Shahid Malik has announced that Castle Hall School and Mirfield Free Grammar (MFG) will receive up to £40m between them thanks to his lobbying.
Kirklees Council is bringing in a £200m high school plan for the north of the district.
The plan initially included closing Castle Hall and expanding MFG. However, a Government adjudicator ordered Kirklees to keep Castle Hall open after a campaign by parents and Mr Malik.
The MP said yesterday that Kirklees sent him an email last month agreeing to invest between £10m and £20m to refurbish and extend each of the Mirfield schools.
Mr Malik said: “After an 18-month battle with the council, I am so pleased that we have now agreed a funding package that will transform secondary education in Mirfield.
“I would particularly like to thank the council leader Clr Mehboob Khan for allowing me to continually hassle and harass him on this issue.
“I spent months chairing meetings with local head teachers and governing bodies to compile a 48-page schools report. However, even in that document we did not anticipate such a huge allocation of funding for MFG and Castle Hall. It’s a great result.”
But Mr Malik’s position on Castle Hall was questioned by two of his political opponents.
Mirfield Conservative councillor Martyn Bolt said: “Nothing we have seen from council officers, nor the comments of the Cabinet, give any indication as to the amount of money Mirfield may get, so figures such as £40m need to be verified by officers.
“I have not seen a Cabinet report to substantiate these sums so I am sceptical about such claims, coming just before Mr Malik faces a tough election. It could so easily be spin.”
Clr Khizar Iqbal is standing as an independent candidate against Mr Malik in the general election on May 6.
He said: “The release of this information stating that the two schools were to share £40m is reckless, irresponsible and opportunist.
“The council’s procurement process has now been severely compromised with the release of this information. I am not clear at this stage whether or not the figures released by Mr Malik are indeed accurate or have been agreed.
“However, what is clear is that any contractor or potential bidder for the work to carry out the major refurbishment at either of these two schools is now aware of the council’s budget position”.