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Shires back call for full payment

As the budget deadline for metropolitan authorities nears, a TES survey reveals a Pounds 70m education cut. Council leaders from the shire counties have urged the Government to fund this year's teachers' pay award in full, writes Clare Dean.

With the counties facing education cuts of Pounds 187 million from the beginning of next month, only a third are able to fund the 2.7 per cent rise while almost a third more have allowed nothing, leaving schools to pick up the bill.

Conservatives joined Labour and Liberal-Democrat councillors at an emergency meeting of the Association of County Councils' education committee to demand proper Government funding on pay.

They called on ministers to fund the 199596 award in full, and ensure future awards recommended by the School Teachers Review Body are only accepted by ministers if Government is prepared to pay its due percentage and remove the cap to allow LEAs to raise funds to meet the balance.

They also wanted funding for the 1994 pay rise built into Government grants to councils for 199596, in an attempt to break the backlog of financial problems created by the Treasury refusal to fund the award. Ken Watson, a Conservative councillor from Devon, said: "We face a repeat of the problems in future years, with the prospect of further reductions of increasing severity."

Councillor John Airey, from Warwickshire, said: "We haven't seen the full fury of parents yet. September is the crunch time. When parents see their children in classes of 40 or more, their anger will break."

Gene Echolls, from Suffolk, said parents would hold the Government accountable at the election.

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