POLITICS: Be up-front about cuts

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Maybe I am being naïve, or maybe the memory is fading as I grow older, but didn’t political parties once stand for election on their policies?

I refer to the Conservatives’ stance on school cuts.

The allegedly strong leadership of Theresa May keeps repeating, robotically, that school funding is at its highest ever.

This is true as an absolute cash figure, but only because pupil numbers are also at their highest ever.

There is no doubt that schools are having to make cuts – all local parents will know that.

This is due to actual, swingeing cash cuts in sixth form funding, as well as increases in employers’ National Insurance and pension contributions, increases, albeit slight, in salaries, and inflationary pressures, notwithstanding some funding formula changes.

So, the cuts are real, sometimes substantial.

Therefore, why cannot the Conservative party say to the country either of the following things.

Firstly, yes, schools are facing cuts, but this is because the country cannot afford to continue previous levels of funding.

Or, alternatively, we do not believe in funding public services in the same way as other countries do so cuts will have to be made.

Clearly, it cannot say the first or people would see that the millions being spent on free and grammar schools would immediately undercut that argument.

The second would possibly make it unelectable.

Andy Clark

Whitley Bay