IFS: Education spending will “shrink” at fastest rate “since at least the 1950s”

A new report today reveals education spending will be slashed by more than 13 per cent over this parliament - the largest cut since at least the fifties.

A new report today reveals education spending will be slashed by more than 13 per cent over this parliament – the largest cut since at least the fifties.

Contrasting the cuts ahead with Labour’s record investment in education, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says:

Public spending on education in the UK grew rapidly during the 2000s. Over the decade between 1999–2000 and 2009–10, it grew by 5.1% per year in real terms, the fastest growth over any decade since the mid-1970s.

As a result, it rose from 4.5% of national income in 1999–2000 to reach a high point of 6.4% in 2009–10. Going forwards, we estimate that public spending on education in the UK will fall by 3.5% per year in real terms between 2010–11 and 2014–15. [See Table 1]

This would represent the largest cut in education spending over any four-year period since at least the 1950s, and would return education spending as a share of national income back to 4.6% by 2014–15.

Table 1:

Increases-in-UK-education-spending-April-1956-March-2015
This morning’s IFS analysis also finds:

As with most areas of government spending, education spending is set to shrink in real terms over the Spending Review period… [Estimated] total public spending on education in the UK will fall by over 13% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2014-15. This represents the largest cut in education spending over any four-year period since at least the 1950s. [See Graph 1]

The cuts will be deepest for capital spending and higher education, followed by 16-19 education and early years provision. Schools spending is relatively protected, and schools with the most deprived intakes are likely to see real-terms increases in funding. However, the majority of schools will see real-terms cuts.

Graph 1:

UK-education-spending-1955-1956-2014-2015-actual-and-forecast
The IFS concludes:

Having risen by historically large amounts during the 2000s, the UK’s education budget is now set for an historically large fall over the next few years.

Schools will see smaller real-terms cuts than other areas of education spending, while cuts to public spending on higher education will be more than offset by higher tuition fees. The biggest challenges lie ahead for the early years, youth services and 16-19 education, where spending is set to fall by around 20% in real terms.

Of course the key question is what these cuts in financial resources will mean for the outputs of the education system, such as young people’s exam results or earnings potential.

Indeed. The dire consequences of the government’s savage education cuts will not be fully felt for years; the futures stolen, ambitions thwarted, lives ruined, will only become truly apparent once the damage has been wrought, the horrors irreversible.

See also:

Gove’s three priorities? Gove, Gove, GoveAlex Hern, October 4th 2011

Fees, cuts… Is this what Cameron means by “giving young people back their future”?Shamik Das, September 14th 2011

IFS questions Osborne’s “short sighted” failure to invest in science and skillsShamik Das, September 5th 2011

Priced out of the playground: Tory Wandsworth to charge kids to playShamik Das, May 12th 2011

Toby Young is wrong about the cuts and wrong about the marchNicola Smith, March 29th 2011

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