Coventry & Warwickshire

Jobs threat as Coventry technology agency to close

More than 200 jobs could be lost under government plans to close its technology agency for schools.

The closure was announced by Chancellor George Osborne as part of plans to cut £6.2bn from public spending.

Up to 240 jobs are at risk at the British Education Communications Technology Agency (Becta).

The agency, based at the University of Warwick Science Park in Coventry, costs £65m per year to run. Savings this year are expected to be £10m.

Under the cuts announced by Mr Osborne on Monday, there will be a civil service recruitment freeze, as well as cuts to IT programmes, property and quangos

'Poorest children'

Becta chairman Graham Badman, and chief executive, Stephen Crowne, said they were "very disappointed" by the closure and claimed the organisation saved schools and colleges "many more times" more money than it cost to run.

In a statement they said the organisation was very effective delivering "valuable services" to schools, colleges and children.

"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."

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