Discussions with banks to reduce the debts of schools crippled by hidden costs in equipment hire contracts are still to be completed at least four months since they began.

Last year it emerged that a number of Waltham Forest schools were left with debts totalling more than £1million after signing contracts with companies for electrical goods, such as printers and laptops.

Some firms then went into liquidation, leaving schools owing large amounts to banks, or large hidden costs emerged.

Waltham Forest Council has reached agreements with some of the banks involved to reduce the amount of money schools owe after approaching them late last year, but a spokesman said several are still dragging on.

 

He said: “Discussions are currently ongoing with the banks, but it is anticipated that satisfactory outcomes can be achieved.”

Thomas Gamuel Primary School in Colchester Road, Walthamstow, was believed to have been left with seven-figure liabilities after signing a number of leases, incuding a deal for CCTV in 2010.

Clydesdale Bank, which was the bank involved in the contract, has since agreed to cancel the lease.

Edinburgh Primary School in Queens Road, Walthamstow, hired equipment worth up to £60,000, but was left liable for nearly double that amount.

Willow Brook Primary School in Church Road, Leyton, Jenny Hammond Primary School in Worsley Road, Leytonstone, and William Morris School in Folly Lane, Walthamstow, are also believed to have been affected.

The authority and the schools are bound by confidentiality agreements imposed by the banks which prevent the details of the deals being made public.