Tory race may mean extra year of school funding crisis

PM hopefuls are competing on plans to raise school funding. But the leadership race now expected to delay boost from spending review by a year

Liz Truss said the Tory leadership campaign could delay the government spending review.

A government spending review that schools hoped would boost their funding is likely to be delayed by a year by the Tory leadership race.

Chancellor Philip Hammond had hoped to launch the process, which was expected to set government spending for the following three years, before the summer break.

However, Liz Truss, chief secretary to the Treasury, has said this was now “unlikely to happen” on schedule because of “goings-on within the Conservative Party”.


Quick read: Corbyn says May in 'outright denial' over school funding

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Background: DfE's problems on school funding


News of the possible delay comes despite a number of candidates to become prime minister putting pledges to increase school funding at the centre of their leadership bids.

Giving evidence to peers this week, Ms Truss suggested that government departments would receive a one-year extension to their current spending plans.

She told the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee: “The plan had been to launch the spending review and the zero-based capital [spending] review just before the summer recess. I would suggest that is unlikely to happen given the current timetable for the Conservative leadership election.”

She said the new prime minister would want to make decisions about government spending.

Last month, Ms Truss, who has previously been a DfE minister, said that children with SEND were a “real priority” for the spending review.

She also chaired a Treasury roundtable with leading education figures in May.

Following the meeting, Luke Tryl, the director of the New Schools Network, tweeted there was “total agreement on importance of making sure children master the 3Rs in primary".

Ms Truss ‘liked’ his tweet on Twitter.

The news about the spending review’s likely delay comes despite a number of candidates to become prime minister putting higher school funding at the centre of their leadership campaigns.

Current favourite Boris Johnson said: “I pledge significantly to improve the level of per pupil funding so that thousands of schools get much more per pupil - and to protect that funding in real terms."

Former education secretary Michael Gove said he would increase school funding by £1 billion, while Esther McVey has pledged an extra £2 billion for schools and £2 billion for special educational needs and disability and further education.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said he would be “bolder than Boris” in an interview with the Sun newspaper, in which said he planned to spend an extra £400 on every primary and secondary pupil.

 

 

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