IN recent days, three Echo articles have given dramatic accounts of BCP Council's dedicated school grant deficit.

On Jan 16 a head teacher says he has zero confidence in BCP Council sorting this mounting deficit. On Jan 17 an MP says he is fearful of secret decisions with BCP Council snatching funding away from schools.

On Jan 19, two BCP councillors are reported asking our MPs to lobby government for better school funding to prevent either drastic cuts to BCP education spending or council bankruptcy.

Yet these deficits are a problem nationally and have some history. Let's not get carried away with a political bish-bash.

BCP inherited a £3.6m education debt from its predecessor councils. With successive budgets set by the Conservative BCP 'shadow' council, the Rainbow Alliance and then the Conservatives again, this debt grew annually by £1m, £3m, £12m, £20m and £27m. Without radical measures, this debt will continue to balloon.

The government anticipated councils facing such difficulties. Back in 2020 they set up two schemes, 'Delivering Better' which BCP has already used, and for bigger problems 'Safety Valve'.

Dorset Council had to sign up to Safety Valve in 2021/22 when their annual deficit rose to £18m. Similarly, BCP were 'invited' to to sign up to Safety Valve last July.

If not addressed, these debts will soon be big enough to bankrupt BCP. While Safety Value is not a painless process, dodging it looks unlikely.

So this is a serious situation and the last thing we need is another local political bish-bash-bosh.

Dr Martin Rodger

Bloxworth Road,