Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Monday, 21 November 2011

Education questions

Labour has attacked government cuts to education spending, claiming the budget is facing the biggest cut since the 1950s with capital spending slashed by 57%.

Shadow education minister Stephen Twigg cited a recent report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies as evidence of the impact of the government's cuts.

The report said public spending on education in the UK had fallen at the fastest rate since the 1950s and that spending would fall by 13% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2014-15,

At education questions in the Commons on 21 November 2011, Mr Twigg asked the education secretary how the "eye-watering" 57% cut in capital spending "compares to the average capital spending cut across all other government departments?".

Mr Gove remarked: "I am reminded by [Mr Twigg] that it should be 'compared with' and not 'compared to'."

He went on to say capital spending under the previous Labour government was "poorly allocated and wastefully squandered". The coalition, however, was ensuring that money was going to primary schools in "desperate need" and "neglected" by Labour, he added.

Mr Twigg responded, to cheers from the Labour benches: "His English might be better than mine but his maths certainly isn't."

He told him the cut was double the average of other departments, which was a "truly terrible spending settlement for education capital".

The shadow minister called for capital investment in schools "as set out in Labour's plan for jobs" to be brought forward. This would be good for education, jobs and economic growth, he argued.

Mr Gove attacked Labour's record in office claiming the previous administration did not have "a care for prudency, economy or the next generation".

He told Mr Twigg he should support the government's education reforms, plans for deregulation and policies aimed at making the economy "competitive again".


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