21/11/2011 11:51 GMT | Updated 21/01/2012 05:12 GMT

Education Budgets Facing Biggest Cuts In 60 Years, Say Labour

Education budgets are facing the biggest cuts since the 1950s with capital spending slashed by 57%, the Opposition has claimed in the House of Commons.

Labour's education team cited an Institute for Fiscal Studies report in education questions as evidence the Government was making savage cuts to schools.

But Secretary of State Michael Gove insisted the Government was ensuring money was spent effectively and properly.

Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said: "The IFS report shows you are undertaking the largest cuts to education spending since the 1950s and education capital will be cut by an eye-watering 57%. Can you confirm how this 57% cut compares to the average capital spending cut in other Government departments?"

Mr Gove said: "The truth is that under the last government capital spending was poorly allocated, wastefully squandered, and we are now ensuring that money goes to, in particular, primary schools in desperate need that were neglected under the last government."

Mr Twigg replied: "The cut is double the average. A truly terrible spending settlement for education capital. With youth unemployment now over a million will you join me in pressing the Treasury to bring forward capital investment in schools, as set out in Labour's plan for jobs?

"And do you agree that to do this would not only be good for education but it would be good for jobs and good for economic growth?"

Mr Gove said: "If only you'd been in the Treasury over the last five years when so much money was wasted by profligate schools ministers who had not a care for prudence, economy or the next generation.

"If you believe in a plan for jobs and growth, you should support the deregulation that will come forward in the autumn statement, you should support the Chancellor in making the economy competitive again and you should support the reforms we are introducing which will ensure our children go on to become the best educated and most enterprising in the world."