Laws leads attack on Brown’s schools cash raid

Gold star for David Laws, Lib Dem shadow secretary of state for children and schools, for first spotting and highlighting Labour’s plans to confiscate 5% of school cash balances.

Here’s what The Guardian says this morning in its article, Lib Dems attack plans to reclaim schools’ cash:

… the Lib Dem schools spokesman, David Laws, who has led the campaign for the proposal to be scrapped, said: “The prime minister doesn’t seem to realise that almost two-thirds of existing school balances are already committed to buildings and other projects.

“This plan to tax prudent schools is daft and characteristic of a government which thinks it knows better than individual school leaders. This dotty idea must not be allowed to continue.”

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  • Martin Land 25th Oct '07 - 6:27pm

    Well said, Jon. Some schools are keeping ridiculous amounts in reserves for no specific purpose. The money given to schools is there to teach our kids now and with as much as £1,700,000,000 in reserves, for once, I agree with Labour!

  • Peter Bancroft 25th Oct '07 - 6:48pm

    Taxing savings is just another way of encouraging schools to spend more money than they need to.

    I’d have thought that investing in infrastructure is every bit as important as the operational running of the school. It’s almost as if Brown wants schools to conform to public service stereotypes of extreme under-investment.

  • David Morton 25th Oct '07 - 7:17pm

    2. Its a pity david Laws isn’t going to be our new Leader…

    I agree it does seem perverse that quite so much cash is sitting around but you can’t devolve power and then moan when people do thing with it you don’t like. I actually don’t doubt that Labour is being well motivated but its over centralised and dictatorial.

  • Bridget Fox 25th Oct '07 - 8:17pm

    I’m a former chair of finance at an Islington secondary school. A very high proportion of school budgets are tied up in staffing costs. Schools have virtually no revenue generating ability; therefore budget flexibility is minimal.

    I agree with David @6 – Government cannot on the one hand talk about empowering schools and on the other take back money when they don’t approve of how schools use it.

    A more liberal solution to better-off schools hoarding reserves would be to direct more money to poorer communities in the first place. Pupil premium, anyone?

  • Bridget – are we sure it is schools with affluent kids who are hoarding the money? But agree both with the pupil premium and that schools should be allowed to save money to spend later, if that is what they want to do.

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