Under the Coalition - Worse Education Cuts Since the 1950s

Allan Beavis's picture

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has just published a damning report showing that  public spending on education would fall by more than 13% in real terms by 2014-15. This is the largest cut in education spending over a four-year period since the 1950s.

 The cuts will be deepest for higher education, which is expected to be reduced by 40%. Education for 16-19-year-olds and for "early years" - nursery pupils and playgroups - will also be hit hard, with spending cuts of around 20%. School and college building projects will suffer the most from cuts to funding, these budgets to be slashed by 60% o higher than the ver the next 4 years.

 Michael Gove claimed that the government is spending more than over the next four years than Labour did in its first two parliaments but he is misrepresenting the facts.

 The government plans to cut capital spending for education from £7.6bn over 2010-11, to £4.9bn in the current and each year thereafter, bringing it down to £3.4bn in 2014-15 and spending over £15.8bn over the four years.

 Labour’s capital spending on schools between 1997/98 and 2005/05 came to £15bn (or £20bn in today’s prices).

 The DfE have since clarified this £5bn discrepancy between Coalition and Labour spend by saying that Gove ought to have mentioned “averages” and that “there will be a total of £15.8bn of capital spending over the period.  Although this amounts to a 60% reduction in real terms in capital spending over the period, the annual capital budget will be higher than the average annual capital budget in the 1997-98 to 2005-05 period”.

 So the fact is – total spending on school buildings over the next four years will NOT eclipse spending under Labour’s first eight years and this move will revert schools’ capital budgets back to the state they were in 2002.

 Gove typically blames Labour for spending money they never had, echoing the mendacious claim that the previous administration were to blame for the economic crisis, rather than the irresponsibility of the banks and the flatlining of Gideon Osborne’s economic policies.

 So, less money at a time when the population growth sees us challenged by primary schools desperate for more space. The answer is apparently free market schools – sorry, Free Schools – educating a tiny minority.

 As school buildings fall into greater ruin, Gove remains silent about where the funding will come from for the new Free Schools’ buildings and supporters of Katharine Birbalsingh whinge about how she will house her school now that Lilian Baylis is no longer available.

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Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 26/10/2011 - 16:49

FullFact looked at the PM's claim that school spending was being protected. It concluded: "The Prime Minister's claim, that pupil premium spending will be additional to a protected schools budget, is highly problematic. This is because protecting something in cash terms, as is happening with school spending, is a de facto reduction when inflation is accounted for. The Spending Review clearly states that whilst spending will go up by 0.1 per cent each year in real terms this is including the pupil premium. Indeed the IFS analysis suggests that even this figure may have been overtaken by rising inflation. Nevertheless it is difficult to say that the Prime Minister's statement is wrong enough to warrant a correction at the dispatch box. After all one could just about argue that cash terms protection is a form of protection, just not as strong as real terms protection. But since the claim can give the wrong impression about what is going on with schools spending, we do not feel that the PM should be claiming that the budget is being protected without the pupil premium. We have contacted the DfE on the subject and hope to hear back from them soon."


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