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Tories would slash schools funding by a quarter

December 15, 2014 12:01 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

A Conservative majority Government would cut the education budget by more than a quarter - or £13.3bn a year - by 2020, Liberal Democrat analysis has found.

The analysis is based on the spending, tax and borrowing commitments made by David Cameron and George Osborne.

Unlike the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives have not committed to protecting funding for schools, nurseries and colleges in the next parliament.

Even the Conservatives' own schools minister, Lord Nash, warned in October that schools will have to "cut their cloth" after the next election.

Liberal Democrat research, based on House of Commons library figures, has found that this means the education budget could be slashed by a quarter, or £13.3bn a year. The methodology is set out in the 'Notes to editors' below.

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:

Labour has also failed to rule out major cuts to schools, colleges and nurseries.

Commenting on the cuts, Liberal Democrat Schools Minister David Laws said:

"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.

"The Liberal Democrats will cut less than the Conservatives and borrow less than Labour.

"We are committed to eliminating the deficit by 2017/18, but unlike the Conservatives we believe some of that should come from tax rises on the very wealthy and that, once the deficit is eliminated, public spending should rise with economic growth.

"The Conservatives are not only committed to eliminating the deficit, but also running a surplus, and bizarrely, giving away a further £7bn in unfunded tax cuts for the rich and not raising any taxes. That means George Osborne's axe will make much deeper cuts in unprotected departments than is necessary to balance the books.

"The Conservatives have not committed to protecting funding for schools, nurseries and colleges in the next parliament. George Osborne should come clean about what Conservative cuts will mean for children and parents. A Conservative majority Government would be a serious risk to our education system. Such drastic cuts would have a profound impact on the life chances of children. They would also completely undermine any claims the Conservatives make to being committed to raising standards."