The chancellor, Sajid Javid, has announced £14bn extra funding for schools in England. His apparent spending splurge is supposed to hail an end to austerity. But is cash-bombing schools as generous as it it’s claimed to be?
Analysis by Natalie Perera, executive director of the Education Policy Institute, suggests not.
Writing in Schools Week, she says the £14bn is not an annual payment but is spread over two years. The extra £7.1bn per annum should meet the cost of the growth in pupil numbers (£1bn); the promised additional funding for SEND pupils for one year only (£700m, further years to be decided) and the increased cost of teachers’ pay (difficult to estimate).
Perera warns that ‘schools may not receive as much as they expect’ and ‘schools in poorer areas will lose out’.
Claims about extra money for NHS also misleading
In August, Boris Johnson announced a ‘one-off cash boost of £1.8 billion for NHS hospitals in England’ for capital funding. But, as The Lowdown points out, ‘within hours this story started to unravel’.
Only £850m is the ‘new money’ claimed by Johnson. The rest is money which ‘better-placed’ NHS trusts have saved by making cuts but were forbidden to spend. They’ve now been given permission to turn on the tap.
This week’s spending review promised extra cash for the NHS and social care. But Niall Dickson chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said that while the extra funding was ‘much-needed’, it represented ‘sticking plaster solutions’. Three key areas remained significantly underfunded: ‘capital investment, social care and public health’.
Beware vows on vehicles
If and when we have a general election, perhaps we will see buses (blue this time) with these spending pledges emblazoned on the side. But we’ve been here before. Any promise on a Boris bus would be as smelly as a smoked kipper.