Tuesday, 3 February 2015

The Conservatives would cut funding for nurseries, colleges and the Pupil Premium

A Conservative majority government would slash funding for pre-school and higher education by more than £3.1bn a year, by 2020, Liberal Democrat research reveals.

The Prime Minister has said that his party would freeze per pupil funding at state schools in England over the course of the next Parliament, a cut in real terms.

If they were to govern alone, the Conservatives would not maintain the early years education budget or the Department for Education's 16-19 education budget.

This means that a single-party Conservative Government would need to slash £0.9bn a year from pre-school education and £2.2bn a year from 16-19 education by 2020.

It also raises questions over the future of the £2.5bn Pupil Premium, which is money targeted at the most disadvantaged students to close the attainment gap.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party to commit to protecting the cradle to college education budget in the next parliament.

Currently funding is protected for children aged between five and 16 but the Liberal Democrats would also ringfence education spending for two to 19-year-olds after the General Election.

Liberal Democrat Education Minister David Laws said:

“This is an unbelievably weak commitment from David Cameron and the Conservatives.

“The Conservatives have failed even to protect the schools budget in real terms and it is clear that they will have to make deep cuts to early years and 16-19 education.

"The only reason schools budgets have been protected in real terms is because the Liberal Democrats have been in government.

“This makes a mockery of the Conservatives' claims to want to raise standards. You simply can't improve education while starving schools, nurseries and colleges of the resources they need.”