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Tories will cut education budgets by a quarter, Lib Dems claim

Education will be cut by more than a quarter – or £13bn a year – by 2020 should the Conservatives form a majority government after the general election, the Liberal Democrats have claimed.

According to an analysis by the party, school budgets will be cut by more than £9bn , the equivalent of scrapping the funding of more than two million pupils, while £640m will be slashed form the pupil premium.

Lib Dems say the figures are based on the spending, tax and borrowing commitment made by prime minister David Cameron and the chancellor George Osborne. They claim a Conservative majority would be a “serious risk” to the country’s education system.

Around £775m will be cut from early years and over £1.6bn will be slashed from the 16 to 19 budget, an area of education that has already suffered significant cutbacks under the coalition, according to the party.

Giving his Autumn Statement earlier this month, Mr Osborne was unable to commit to protect school budgets, despite giving assurances to spare the NHS from the cuts. 

Lib Dems pointed to comments made by schools minister Lord Nash back in October and reported by the TES, that schools will have to “cut their cloth" after the next election.

Schools minister David Laws stated that the commitments made by their coalition partners to eliminate the deficit and run a surplus by the end of the decade, as well as pledging a further £7bn in tax cuts would mean greater pressure on public services.

“The Conservatives have not committed to protecting funding for schools, nurseries and colleges in the next parliament. George Osborne should come clean about what Conservative cuts will mean for children and parents,” Mr Laws said.

“A Conservative majority government would be a serious risk to our education system. Such drastic cuts would have a profound impact on the life chances of children. They would also completely undermine any claims the Conservatives make to being committed to raising standards.”

Related stories: 

Autumn Statement: teachers face more misery over pay - 3 December 2014

Schools face post-election funding squeeze, warns minister - 11 October 2014

London success threatened by cuts plan, councils warn - 26 June 2014

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