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Kids education takes a hit

July 20, 2022 4:16 PM
Originally published by Babergh South Suffolk Liberal Democrats

b6ao (Photo by Sam Balye on Unsplash)Listening to the contenders to lead the Tory party squabble over who can make the biggest cuts in taxes whilst dramatically increasing defence spending you would think that the public finances are in great shape (they aren't), public services are providing great services (they dont), British industry is powering ahead with new investment (it isn't) and the cost-of-living increases are not really a problem

On a day where inflation increased again to 9.4% it is therefore a cold dose of reality to hear the government announce that schools in England will get a 1.9% increase in per-pupil funding next year. This at a time when spend was supposed to be increasing to allow pupils who lost learning opportunities during covid lockdowns to catch up

Indeed, analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies showed that school funding per pupil in 2024 will be at about the same level in real terms as in 2010. So much for investing in education to improve the skills of our labour force as we move into the future of new technologies

Against the big increase in prices there was also criticism of a 2.1% increase in funding for free school meals which will amount to an additional £10 a head. Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

With food and energy prices spiralling, schools too are suffering from the cost-of-living crisis.

Increasing free school meals funding by just £10 per head a year will not stop schools from choosing between cutting quality or putting up prices for other struggling families.

Boris Johnson's parting gift to schools is a slap in the face. As our teachers deal with sweltering classrooms and squeezed salaries, this Conservative government has handed mainstream schools real terms pay cut worth almost £2.5bn.

As has been evident during the leadership debates the Conservatives have had 12 years in power to address the countries issues and they have failed. Taxes are the highest since the 1950s, living standards are growing slower than anyone in Europe except Greece and wherever you look continuous under-investment in public services have seen standards drop with huge NHS waiting lists, and queues for everything from Passports to Driving licences