From today’s Independent:
Nick Clegg vowed today to veto any move by the Conservatives to allow academies and free schools to become profit-making businesses.
The Deputy Prime Minister intervened after The Independent revealed that Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, is considering plans to redraw the rules to allow the schools to use hedge funds and venture capitalists to raise money.
The Liberal Democrats will block any moves to change the rules before the 2015 general election. During the election campaign, Mr Clegg’s party will claim that they acted as a brake on the Tories inside the Coalition. “We will say we stopped them running schools for profit, privatising the NHS and eroding workplace rights by allowing employers to sack people at will,” one Lib Dem minister said.
A “senior Liberal Democrat” source is quoted as saying:
We have made it crystal clear that we will not allow the running of state schools for profit. The Conservatives can put what they want in their manifesto for 2015 but this is a Coalition Government and running schools for a profit in the state sector won’t happen while the Lib Dems are in it. This idea has been floated before and has been stopped in its tracks by the Lib Dems. Every time it comes up, exactly the same thing will happen.
This is just another example of the massive job that Nick Clegg has, keeping an eye on everything that Government does and stopping Conservative ministers doing silly things. The very idea that state funded schools could make profits for rich investors is abhorrent to most people. In the event of a school finding some spare cash, every single penny should be invested in the kids. It’s a no brainer.
Apart from the issues mentioned above, this joins the Snoopers’ Charter, removal of Housing Benefit for under 25s and capping Child Benefit at two children, and cutting inheritance tax on the list of things which show how much worse life would be if the Tories were governing alone.