Education

26.05.17

Tories will take education spending back to 2010 levels, warns IFS

Conservative plans to reduce spending on schools would lead to a 7% real-terms cut for the education sector between 2015-16 and 2021-22, according to experts from the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

In an observation, which looked at the consequences of each of the education spending pledges from the main political parties, the IFS stated that the Conservative plans would equate to a 3% real-terms fall in spending per pupil over the course of the new Parliament, which would take funding back to 2010 spending levels.

This is despite the fact that the Conservative manifesto states that the overall schools budget will be increased by £4bn by 2022. However, the IFS noted that once inflation and forecast growth in pupils is taken into account, the actual amount spent on education decreases considerably.

Meanwhile, the Labour party intends to increase spending per pupil by 6% compared to present levels, and would lead to spending per pupil being 1.6% higher in real-terms than 2015-16. The Liberal Democrats have pledged to protect spending per pupil in real-terms at its 2017-18 level.

The IFS stated that its forecast excludes any additional money schools may receive from removing the 1% cap on public sector pay increases – a policy that Labour and the Lib Dems have voiced their support for.

Luke Sibieta, an associate director at IFS and an author of the observation, said: “The commitments made by each of the main parties would imply quite different paths for school spending in the next Parliament. Labour would increase spending per pupil by around 6% after inflation over the course of the Parliament, taking it to just above its previous historic high in 2015.

“Proposals from the Conservatives would lead to a near 3% real-terms fall in spending per pupil over the Parliament, taking it back to its level 2010.”

A number of organisations have previously voiced concern to the government about how cuts to investment was leading to a struggling education sector. Four teaching unions this month warned that asking schools to find £3bn worth of savings by 2020 was evidence of a “funding crisis”.

And the Public Accounts Committee also stated that Whitehall “did not understand” the severity of problems that schools were currently facing.

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