A CONSERVATIVE victory in the General Election will damage schools in Huddersfield, a Labour minister has warned.
Speaking exclusively to the Examiner, education minister Ed Balls said the Tories would cut funding for new high schools in the town.
Kirklees Council is currently drawing up a £200m proposal to improve high schools in Huddersfield, Colne Valley, Holme Valley and Denby Dale.
But Mr Balls said yesterday that the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) plan might never see the light of day if the Conservatives win the election on May 6.
He said: “This is a once-in-a-generation chance to transform schools in south Kirklees and only Labour is committed to keeping that investment. The Conservatives won’t match that commitment.
“The only way to be sure of getting new schools is to vote Labour because we will make sure that the BSF investment flows into south Kirklees.”
The MP for Normanton, near Wakefield, said Labour faced a “tough” fight to hold the marginal seats of Colne Valley, Calder Valley and Dewsbury.
He said: “We’re the underdogs in those seats because the Conservatives have put up lots and lots of posters paid for by a tax exile millionaire.
“We don’t have any posters there because we can’t afford it. It’s going to be tough.”
Last October Mr Balls was labelled “a bit of a bully” by Huddersfield Labour MP Barry Sheerman in a row over education appointments.
But Mr Balls said yesterday: “Barry and me have had our ups and downs. A couple of times he’s been in a bad mood and kicked me instead of the dog.
“Every now and then he’s lashed out, but we’re fighting for the same thing. Me and Barry are on the same side – we want to see new schools in Huddersfield.
“I think Barry is the right man for Huddersfield.”
Mr Balls attacked the Conservatives for proposing the abolition of regional development agencies like Yorkshire Forward.
He said: “Yorkshire Forward has brought investment in food production in Hull and Grimsby and the hi-tech investment park in Rotherham.
“People remember the 1980s when we didn’t have things like the regional development agencies, when people were thrown on the scrapheap for years and years.
“People remember what the Conservatives did to Yorkshire in the 1980s. Have the Tories really changed?”