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How Liberal Democrats blocked Conservative plans to cut education budget in 2010

February 2, 2015 10:17 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat Education Minister David Laws has revealed how the Conservatives wanted to slash the schools budget on entering office in 2010.

In government, Liberal Democrats categorically refused to support these plans and fought to protect the education budget.


Liberal Democrats have committed to protecting the education budget in the next Parliament, while the Conservatives plan to cut it by a quarter.

Liberal Democrat Education Minister David Laws said:

"When we came into Coalition Government, tough decisions had to be taken because, as Liam Byrne famously told me, there was no money left.

"The Conservative assumption in 2010 was for a cash freeze in the schools budget - a whopping 10% cut in real terms over the course of the Parliament.

"When they put that to us, the Liberal Democrats insisted on properly protecting the schools budget and getting real terms increases year on year.

"They tried to cut the schools budget in 2010 and I fear that history is repeating itself in 2015.

"Their silence on the protection of the funding for early years, schools and colleges is deafening.

"Silence, photographed briefing documents and a stated mission to make deeper cuts than necessary can only lead to the conclusion that the Tories plan to make deep cuts in education.

"Just like in 2010, you need the Liberal Democrats in government again after 2015 to protect education and ensure that the next five years remain about building a stronger economy and a fairer society.

"With Labour surprisingly quiet on the issue as well, it is clear that the Liberal Democrats are the only party committed to protecting education.

"This is about more than just the schools budget. If we want a world class education system, then early years and colleges need to be properly funded too. The Conservatives and Labour should match the Liberal Democrats and protect education spending from cradle to college."