Spring Statement: No new money for schools

Chancellor Philip Hammond confirms free sanitary products in schools and announces knife crime money for police

Martin George

No new money for schools

Schools received no new funding in today's Spring Statement.

Chancellor Philip Hammond instead prioritised an immediate £100 million for police to tackle knife crime, and made announcements about new housing and the environment.

However, he did confirm that the government would fund free sanitary products in secondary schools and colleges in England from the next school year.

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Mr Hammond also told MPs that, assuming a Brexit deal was agreed in the next few weeks, he intends to launch a spending review before the summer recess.

The review would then set out the funding for government departments, such as the Department for Education, for the following three years.

Calls for more school funding

The chancellor said the process would then conclude by the Autumn Budget.

Mr Hammond said he will decide in the spending review how to share the proceeds from any "deal dividend", if the UK leaves the EU with a deal, between increased spending on public services, capital investment and keeping taxes low.

In response, Labour's shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, told MPs: "We have just witnessed a display by the chancellor of this government's toxic mix of callous complacency over austerity and its grotesque incompetence over the handling of Brexit.

"Whilst teachers are having to pay for the materials their pupils need, working parents are struggling to manage as schools close early, their children are sent home, 5,000 of our fellow citizens will be sleeping in the cold and wet on the streets tonight."

He said that Mr Hammond had turned up "with no real end or reversal of austerity".

Today's statement came amid increasing concerns about school funding.

Ahead of the Spring Statement, education unions issued a set of six "tests" for the chancellor, including providing new Treasury money for education.

Last week, headteachers wrote to an estimated 3.5 million households, saying that education secretary Damian Hinds had refused to meet them to discuss their concerns about funding.

And Labour MP Jess Phillips launched a crowd-funding campaign to take "thousands of kids" to the Treasury and sing the Baby Shark song in protest over cuts forcing schools to "close early".

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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