§ Bob Russell
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations he has received about the closure of classrooms at Alderman Blaxill Secondary School, Colchester, following the discovery of asbestos; what action he is taking to ensure that the school has sufficient operational classrooms for the new school year; and if he will make a statement. 
§ M. Miliband
I am not aware of any representations having been received regarding the matter referred in the question other than your letter to the Secretary of State dated 21 July 2004. Essex LEA is working closely with the school to ensure that suitable accommodation is available to the Alderman Blaxill Secondary School for the new school year. The bulk of schools capital is now allocated by formula to authorities and schools so that they can address their local priorities, including accommodation issues. Prioritisation of need should be through an open, rig#rous and consultative asset management process, based on assessments of the needs of all schools. This Government have increased their support for capital investment in schools from under £700 million in 1996–97 to £3.8 billion this year and this will increase further to over £5 billion by 2005–06.