Lib Dems warn on education funding ahead of this morning’s budget

The i reported that figures obtained by Lib Dems from the Commons Library show that due to inflation eating into Whitehall budgets, schools and hospitals will receive £10.7bn less than they were expecting in 2024-25.

Ed Davey, Munira Wilson and Sarah Olney have written to Jeremy Hunt highlighting how current budgetary pressures are affecting schools in their constituencies.

The calculations take into account anticipated inflation. The health budget will face a cut of around £7.3bn in real terms. The education budget is likely to fall by £3.4bn in real terms.

Daisy Cooper said:

It would be completely unacceptable to balance the books on the backs of the young and the sick.

The Prime Minister’s refusal to commit to protecting these budgets means that our NHS, care services and schools, will have no choice but to make further cuts when they are already stripped to the bone – the consequences could be frightening.

Munira tweeted:

In a letter to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, Olney, Wilson and Davey set out how cuts are affecting schools in their constituencies.

Dear Chancellor,

We are writing with you regarding the urgent funding crisis facing schools across the country including in South West London.

As the MPs representing Richmond and Kingston boroughs, we’ve been shocked and appalled by the sheer number of parents, teachers, head teachers and school governors who have written to us about the funding pressures facing our schools. Soaring energy costs, extreme levels of inflation and your predecessor’s failure to fund this year’s much-deserved pay rise for teachers have created a perfect storm in our education system.

Head teachers in our boroughs have warned that if no action is taken schools will cut teaching assistants, increase class sizes, cut support staff for children with special educational needs, axe school trips, curb extracurricular services and stop mental health support within their schools. Cuts to any of these areas would fly in the face of the prime minister’s belief that “a good education is the closest thing we have to a silver bullet”.

In one school in our area, parents have been asked for donations of up to £75 a year to purchase simple classroom resources such as paper, exercise books, pencils and art materials. Families in more disadvantaged parts of our boroughs simply cannot afford these donations and, although the payments are voluntary, they will feel they and harming their children’s education if they do not pay.

This is a situation that schools are facing now. Yet there is worse to come. The funding allocations announced by the Department for Education for 2023/24 showed the most schools will have their budgets cut in real terms per pupil next year. You have also widely trailed that there will be further cuts to public services announced in your Autumn Statement.

We strongly believe that education is an investment in children’s futures and in our country’s future, reaping benefits to our economy in and society for decades to come.

Therefore, we urge you to confirm you will not allow funding for schools and colleges to be cut in real terms following the Autumn Statement. Our young people depend on it.

We look forward to receiving your response.

Sarah Olney tweeted:

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One Comment

  • Perhaps radical ideas are needed to maintain educational standards during this COL crisis. By combining in school and remote learning larger classes could be used to cut costs. Extending the school day could allow a better use of the time children are in school. Most pupils know when they need educational support and when they are best left alone. Allowing more discretion on teacher contact would make better use of resources.

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