Theresa May accused of tying next PM's hands with £27bn schools plan

Posted On: 
16th June 2019

Theresa May has been accused of attempting to tie the hands of her successor with a massive £27bn funding pledge for schools.

Theresa May has tried to secure a legacy for the premiership after much of her agenda was overshadowed by Brexit
Credit: 
PA

The Prime Minister has reportedly provoked fury among senior ministers after she drew up plans for a major cash boost to the education budget ahead of her stepping down from Number 10 next month.

Mrs May is expected to seek Cabinet approval for the multi-billion pound funding injection for schools as early as Tuesday, but is facing resistance from the Treasury over the implications of the spending pledge on her successor.

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One Whitehall source told The Sunday Telegraph: “It really has to be a decision for the next person. It is just not moral for the PM to make this commitment.”

The fresh funding package comes as Mrs May seeks to secure a legacy for her time in Downing Street after much of her domestic agenda was overshadowed by Brexit negotiations.

Last week she announced the UK would become the first G7 nation to pass a legally binding pledge to reduce net emissions to zero by 2050.

The schools funding pledge, which would see an schools given an extra £7bn a year for resources and staffing and an extra £2bn for repairs and new equipment, could be signed off by ministers without the need for new legislation, meaning MPs would not be required to vote for the plans.

But government figures have raised concerns that the significant funding promise would scupper the economic plans of her successor.

One Cabinet minister told the paper: “It looks like a desperate attempt to rescue her reputation. This is exactly they way Mrs May has operated as Prime Minister – not least on Brexit.

“There should be a proper process of discussions with other departments that could be losing out as a result of the spending. Those discussions have not been taking place. It is being done secretly."

NO-DEAL WARNING

Meanwhile, Mrs May is also reportedly preparing to scupper plans by her successor to push through a no-deal Brexit after she confirmed she would remain on the backbenches once she has stepped down from government.

Frontrunner Boris Johnson has repeatedly vowed to stick by the UK’s proposed 31 October exit date, deal or no deal.

But Mrs May, who repeatedly secured extensions from the EU rather than allow the UK to exit without a deal, is said to be concerned about the impact of a hard Brexit on the Union.

An ally of the Prime Minister told the Mail on Sunday: “She made little secret of the fact that she did not want Boris to succeed her, and if you study everything she has said it is clear where she now is on No Deal. The best hope is that Boris is bluffing as usual.”