The Conservatives have hit back at claims that the previous cabinet at Cornwall Council played a “cruel hoax” on Helston Community College over a promised rebuild.

It follows an announcement from MP Andrew George that he was speaking to Schools Minister David Laws about the new cabinet not yet being able to find the £10 million agreed in principle a year ago, to fund the replacement of the college’s dilapidated C-block.

Mr George claimed “the previous council and its Tory leader had committed a cruel hoax on a college”.

However, Derek Thomas, parliamentary spokesman for the Conservative party in West Cornwall, who stood against Mr George at the last election, said: “It’s about political will, it’s not about the money. The council is big enough to fund the money. The last council had the political will that this council doesn’t seem to have.

“That’s what the petition is about. We’re not playing party politics; it’s about the council doing the right thing.”

College headteacher Dr Pat McGovern said this week that governors were providing Mr George with briefing papers ahead of a planned meeting with minister Mr Laws on September 12.

Dr McGovern told the Packet: “His initial reaction was something needed to be done now.”

In the past councillor Andrew Wallis, portfolio holder for Children and Young People and councillor for Porthleven and Helston west, has been quoted as saying that Helston was one of five schools in the county in a similar position that needed help from the council’s £6,886,597 grant from the government.

To fund £10million itself, the council would have to abandon one or a number of existing council schemes and look at larger areas of spending, such as repairing roads and providing houses for local people, while to borrow the money the average cost of repayment over 40 years would be £465,000 per annum or £800,000 over 25 years, he added.