Johnson pledges 14 billion pound boost for schools


FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference at the end of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, August 26, 2019. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday he would boost funding for schools over the next three years by a total of more than 14 billion pounds, following up on his promise to increase spending on education.

Johnson has said he wants to spend more on basic public services, raising speculation that he might call an early election around the time of Britain’s scheduled departure from the European Union on Oct. 31.

The extra funding meant spending on schools for children aged five to 16 would be 2.6 billion pounds higher in the 2020/21 financial year than the 45 billion pounds earmarked in the current financial year, Johnson’s office said.

By 2022/23, the school budget would rise to 52.2 billion pounds.

“We should not accept the idea that there can be ‘winners or losers’ when it comes to our children’s futures,” Johnson said in a statement.

“That’s why we are providing additional funding now and for the future for every school, with those historically under-funded receiving the greatest increase.”

Finance minister Sajid Javid is due to announce an increase in spending on health and the police as well as education in a one-year spending plan on Wednesday.

The opposition Labour Party said the announcement fell short of reversing previous cuts in education spending when adjusted for inflation.

“This comes nowhere close to meeting the prime minister’s pledge to reverse the (Conservatives’) education cuts, let alone matching Labour’s plans to invest in a National Education Service,” the party’s education spokeswoman Angela Rayner said.

Writing by William Schomberg; editing by Stephen Addison

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