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Chancellor's 'little extras' comment 'enraging people'

MPs' committee hears that £400m for one-offs is 'welcome but very small compared to the overall extent of need'

The chancellor's comments about giving schools money to buy 'little extras' is 'enraging people', Kevin Courtney, of the National Education Union, told MPs.

MPs' committee hears that £400m for one-offs is 'welcome but very small compared to the overall extent of need'

People are “enraged” by the chancellor's "little extras" comment in last week's Budget, a union leader has told MPs.

Philip Hammond gave schools £400 million of one-off capital spending to use in the current financial year.

His description of the money as an "in-year bonus to help our schools buy the little extras they need” was met with anger and ridicule.

Teaching unions were asked about the “little extras” comment when giving evidence to a Commons Education Select Committee hearing on school funding this morning.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union, said: “The crisis in schools is very real, so the phrase ‘little extras’ is enraging people.

“And the fact that it is capital spend, it’s not even built into the expectation that you can spend it on the day-to-day when all that day-to-day spending is leading to that crisis.

“It’s spectacularly misjudged by the chancellor.”

Chancellor under fire

Valentine Mulholland, of the NAHT headteachers’ union, told MPs that its members were unimpressed by the comments.

She said: “The expression ‘little extras’ at the same time as a Budget speech that recognised that schools are under funding pressure was particularly ill-judged because we are not talking about little extras. We are talking about fundamentals.”

She said that while primaries would receive an average of £10,000 in capital funding to buy one-off items, they have lost £45,00 in real-terms since 2015.

Ms Mulholland added: “There is a recognition in the speech that there is an issue.

“£400m as a one-off payment to try and persuade parents that something is being done has not gone down well in the system," she said.

“I’m sure the chancellor was well intended but using ‘little extras’ did not help.”

Darren Northcott, of the NASUWT teaching union, said the money was “welcome but it’s very small compared to the overall extent of need”.

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