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Blair 'breaks election pledge'

TONY Blair was this week accused of breaking his election promise to increase funding after figures showed that education spending as a proportion of national wealth has fallen under Labour.

Despite the extra pound;1 billion for education announced in last week's Budget, the tight spending rounds of Labour's first two years in power mean that Labour will spend less of Britain's wealth on education than the Tories did.

Although Labour has increased spending by more than inflation, an analysis by the independent House of Commons Library statisticians showed that Labour will spend an averge of 4.7 per cent of national income on schools and colleges between 1997 and 2002. This compares to an average of almost 5 per cent under the last Conservative government.

It shows that ministers have consistently overestimated education's share of Britain's gross domestic product. The figures suggest spending will be 4.85 per cent of GDP in 200102, rather than the 5 per cent ministers claim.

A spokesman for the Department for Education and Employment said: "The Government will meet its manifesto commitment. Education is getting an increasing share of a larger cake."

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