General election 2017: Labour and Lib Dems pledge education windfall

Opposition parties turn up the heat on Tories with promises to boost school funding by billions

Jeremy Corbyn in Morley
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn waves to supporters in Morley
(Image credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have put education at the forefront of their campaigns, vowing to save schools from what the Lib Dems called the "biggest cuts in a generation".

In an announcement today, the party also promised to ring fence £7bn if it wins the general election to ensure "no child loses out" by cuts to per-pupil spending.

Education spokeswoman Sarah Olney said: "While funding per pupil is set to see the biggest cuts in a generation, billions of pounds are being spent on divisive plans to expand grammars and free schools."

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Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, has pledged to raise corporation tax to fund a cash injection worth £20bn into the education system, including £335m to top up funding for schools that stand to lose out under a new funding formula.

Labour's "ambitious proposals" also include a promise to "ban 30-plus class sizes, scrap adult learners' course fees and bring back student grants," The Independent reports.

An estimate from the National Audit Office says schools "will have to cut £3bn from budgets by 2019-20 to meet rising cost pressures", the BBC reports, while a survey of 1,200 teachers last month revealed more than half of state schools in England had asked parents for some form of financial assistance in the past year.

The funding promises were welcomed by local branches of the Fair Funding for All Schools campaign, although some expressed concern as to whether they had been "fully costed".

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The Independent says Corbyn's policy "throws down the gauntlet to Theresa May", adding the Prime Minister also faces a "Tory rebellion" over school funding.

However, Sky News reports Conservative politicians have scoffed at the plans and called the calculations "nonsensical".

David Gauke, chief secretary to the Treasury, said Corbyn had already committed his proposed corporation tax rise "on 12 different things".

He added: "The Lib Dems are no better and won't even tell people about the tax rises they would bring in."

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