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Fri, 10 July 2020

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By Andrew McQuillan
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Philip Hammond's ‘little extras for schools’ announcement branded 'kick in the teeth' in Budget backlash

Philip Hammond's ‘little extras for schools’ announcement branded 'kick in the teeth' in Budget backlash

Liz Bates

2 min read

Teaching unions and MPs have lashed out at Philip Hammond’s "deeply insulting" £400m Budget cash boost for schools.

The Chancellor said the new funding was to be spent on "that extra bit of kit that would make such a difference".

But teaching unions reacted angrily to the announcement, saying the amount and the language used showed that Mr Hammond misunderstood the financial pressures schools were under.

General secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, Chris Keates, said: “To suggest that all schools need is a nominal sum to fund the ‘little extras’ when schools have faced years of real-terms cuts to their budgets and teachers are thousands of pounds worse off from years of real-terms pay cuts is deeply insulting and disingenuous.”

Kevin Courtney, joint-general secretary of the NUT, added: “Schools are struggling to provide a full and well-rounded education and many schools have fallen into debt, so money for ‘little extras’ won’t cut it.”

Labour MP Meg Hillier,chair of the cross-party Public Accounts Committee, also rounded on Mr Hammond, saying her committee had “extensively documented the financial challenges facing critical public services such as schools, the NHS and social care".

"In this context the announcement of funding for ‘little extras’ for schools was an insult to pupils and parents,” she said.

"With schools living through a £3 billion reduction in funding in England – unable to afford to pay for staff, and considering short weeks and a reduced curriculum to balance the books – this is simply a kick in the teeth."

In his Budget speech, the Chancellor told MPs: "I recognise that school budgets often do not stretch to that extra bit of kit that would make such a difference.

"So today I am announcing a £400m in-year bonus to help our schools buy the little extras they need - a one-off capital payment directly to schools averaging £10,000 per primary school and £50,000 per Secondary School.”

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said: "The amount he has offered is barely a tenth of the £3.5 billion that the Tories have cut from capital funding year on year, leaving thousands of children in leaking and crumbling classrooms.

"Even worse, the Chancellor offered just a handful of councils less than a million pounds a year each in long-term funding for children’s services which are at breaking point, and not a single penny for Further Education or Adult Education, even as spending on skills has halved."

Read the most recent article written by Liz Bates - Jeremy Corbyn admits he would rather see a Brexit deal than a second referendum

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