Leading Liberal Democrats have written to the Chancellor calling for new, dedicated money from the Treasury to fund teachers’ future pay rises and are seeking cross-party support.
The call comes amid fears that the Government will accept a pay rise for teachers, but won’t provide schools extra money to fund for it.
The Liberal Democrats MP argue that schools are “under huge financial pressures” and it is the responsibility of the Chancellor to “save them and their pupils from the inevitable consequences of a further erosion in the funding.”
The School Teachers Pay Review body has been looking into the issue of teachers pay and has made recommendations to the Government, which Education Ministers are due to respond to in the near future.
The party’s Education Spokesperson Layla Moran has written to MPs seeking cross-party support for the campaign.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:
“We have seen school spending slashed, resulting in a narrowing curriculum and dedicated, hardworking teachers being forced out of the profession they love. Up and down the country, parents are already fundraising to pay for resources for schools. This shows the scale of the problem.
“Our hardworking teachers deserve a pay rise, but quite simply schools will not be able to cope if they have to fund pay increases from existing budgets.
“Despite raising this issue several times in Parliament, Education Ministers are refusing to say if they will give schools the money they need to pay for any increases in pay.
“Cross-party support is building. The Government must commit to new funding to ensure teachers get a decent pay rise without placing extra pressure on school budgets.”
Layla Moran has tabled a Parliamentary motion urging the Government to fund future teachers’ pay rises through a dedicated pot of new money and not from existing budgets. It is available here.
A copy of the letter from Liberal Democrat MPs to Chancellor Philip Hammond is as follows:
Within a few days the 2018 report from the School Teachers Pay Review body is due to be published and we are writing to ask you to respond positively to the proposals, not only by agreeing to deliver their recommendations on pay in full, but also to provide the funding for any increase from new money outside of the education budget.
In all our years of being in politics we have never known there to be such a clamour for increased funding to schools from those who have a stake in the future of our children and young people. This includes head teachers, some of the most respected members of society, with over 5,000 of them, from across the country, marching on Downing Street last November to deliver a letter to you calling for more funding for schools. To ask schools to find yet more savings to fund legitimate pay rises for teachers would be a huge mistake as it would result in yet further reductions in provision, more staff redundancies and a greater threat to quality of education our schools can offer.
The National Audit Office has said that in 2018/19, schools will experience additional cost pressures of 1.6 per cent. This additional cost pressure is on top of several years of static government funding, increases in pupil numbers, salary increments, employer NI contributions, higher employer pension contributions and inflation meaning that real school budgets have seen a decline of around 15% over the last 7 years.
Central government announced last July an extra £1.3 billion in 2018/19 and 2019/20 for school funding, and this is welcome, but this does not meet the need that has built up over many years of static funding and increasing demands being placed on schools. It merely allows schools to stand still financially.
A 2017 National Audit Office (NAO) report states that mainstream schools will have to make £3 billion in ‘efficiency savings’ by 2019-20 against the backdrop of the increased costs.
Schools across our constituencies and the country are already are under huge financial pressures and are relying on you, the Chancellor, to save them and their pupils from the inevitable consequences of a further erosion in the funding. For this reason we ask you to ensure that the proposed pay increases for teachers resulting from the 2018 report of the School Teacher’s Pay Review Body is funded from outside the current education budget.
We look forward to your response.
Layla Moran MP, Stephen Lloyd MP, Edward Davey MP, Norman Lamb MP, Wera Hobhouse MP.