George Osborne’s pledge to protect pupils from spending cuts was under threat last night after it emerged that he is demanding £1 billion is sliced off the schools budget. This is from the Daily Mail…
The prospect of a shock cut is the result of a bitter Coalition feud in the run-up to Mr Osborne’s spending review later this month.
Treasury insiders blame Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg for the squeeze on school spending because he refused to agree to take the axe to the welfare budget.
The Mail on Sunday has been told that the Coalition’s ruling ‘Quad’ – David Cameron, Mr Osborne, Mr Clegg and his fellow Lib Dem, Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander – are pressing for the £1billion school savings.
But the move has met strong opposition from Education Secretary Michael Gove.
Such a cut in the £35 billion a year spent on running schools could have serious political consequences for the Prime Minister.
Before he entered No 10, Mr Cameron promised to ringfence the NHS and overseas aid from cuts – a move that formed part of his Coalition agreement with Mr Clegg.
Schools were added to the ringfenced budgets in 2010 after the Election.
Going back on his commitment to schools would be seized on by Labour as evidence that Mr Cameron cannot be trusted, though he could argue he was not breaking a manifesto vow because the pledge was made after he won power not before, as with the NHS and overseas aid.
It is interesting that it was apparently the treasury, rather the DfE, which was behind the suggestions that teaching assistants might be axed to save money. What do you think about this news – it seems to contradict recent stories saying the ring fence was safe. Mail scaremongering or something to be taken seriously?