20/03/2012 12:07 GMT

Budget 2012: Teaching Unions Voice Fears Of Future Of Education Funding

As George Osborne prepares to unveil the Budget for 2012, teaching unions have voiced their fears over the future of funding for education.

One said it was "not holding its breath" while another slammed the government's claim of being "all in this together".

Speaking ahead of the Budget, Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) said the leaks did not suggest the forthcoming financial year would be beneficial for children or improving educational achievement.

Bousted said the union, which has 160,000 members, wants a Budget which reversed any rise in child poverty by tackling low pay and supporting families on benefits.

"One that reverses cuts in public services such as sure start centres and reverses real-terms cuts in school budgets so that schools can make effective interventions to help pupils at risk of failure," she continued.

The general secretary added the ATL was hoping for a financial policy which would reinstate financial support so young people could afford to stay in education and training over the age of 16.

The comments were no doubt made in light of the Education Maintenance Allowance being axed when the Coalition came to power and which critics say the government has failed to replace. Students have continued to demonstrate their opposition against the decision but the Coalition has yet to heed their protests.

Meanwhile, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) Christine Blower, said there was "every indication" Osborne would use the Budget to "continue attacking teachers".

"Interfering with the national pay framework for teachers will deter graduates from teaching and shift existing teacher shortages around the country," she predicted.

Blower continued to criticise the government, claiming it had "failed on its promise to protect investment in schools".

"Education cuts have major human, social and economic costs. The government should pay attention to this and start investing in our schools instead of attacking those who work in them."

The ATL's Bousted added: "Most of all we want the Chancellor to produce a Budget rejecting the idea the country is bust and cannot afford spending money on key public services.

"The government needs to recognise the only way to close the education achievement gap is to close the wealth gap in our society.

"We look forward to Wednesday's Budget but we are not holding our breath," she concluded.