Damning new evidence has come to light as the lid as been lifted on Conservative plans to slash the education budget in the next Parliament. Private briefing notes photographed yesterday show the Tories have refused to rule out cutting the schools budget after the general election. Research provided by Liberal Democrats shows that the Conservatives would need to axe a quarter of the education budget by 2020 to keep pace with their plans for public spending.
The findings based on House of Commons library figures show that the education budget could be slashed by £13.3bn a year by the end of the next Parliament. Such drastic cuts would have a profound impact on schools and the life chances of children. For example, applied evenly across DfE spending, cuts on this scale could mean:
- More than £9bn cut from schools funding – the equivalent of scrapping the funding for 2m pupils.
- About £640m cut from the Pupil Premium – the equivalent of 36,000 teaching assistants or 920,000 fewer pupils receiving 12 weeks of one-to-one tuition.
- About £775m cut from early years – the equivalent of 58,000 3-4-year-olds and 66,000 2-year-olds from low income families losing their free childcare entitlement.
Liberal Democrat Schools Minister David Laws said: "The Tories have now revealed their true colours for all to see. They want to slash spending on education that’s desperately needed to provide children a fair and equal opportunity to succeed. A Tory-shaped £13.3bn black hole in education spending will jeopardise future job prospects for our country’s children, and jeopardise our long term economic stability. Unlike the Conservatives and Labour, the Liberal Democrats are committed to protecting cradle to college spending in the Department for Education. We believe that giving every child the best possible start in life is the best way to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their potential."
"Education spending is a real investment – good for growth and essential for creating a fairer society." David Laws added.