'So It's Not New Money': BBC Presenter Skewers Tory Minister Over Special Needs Cash

Education secretary Gillian Keegan was announcing government funding for extra school places.
John Kay grilled Gillian Keegan this morning.
John Kay grilled Gillian Keegan this morning.

Tory education secretary Gillian Keegan was skewered on the BBC over cash for special needs pupils.

The cabinet minister announced that £850 million will be spent creating 60,000 new school places across the country.

But on BBC Breakfast this morning, Keegan was forced to admit that that money is part of a £2.6 billion funding package which has already been announced by the government.

Presenter John Kay asked her: “Can we just be really, really clear then. Is this genuinely new money that we’ve not heard about before, or is this money that you’ve told us about before and you’re announcing today how it’s going to be spent?”

Keegan replied: “It’s £2.6 billion total, but the £850 million we’re announcing today is the last tranche of that on a whole load of new free schools, because we know there’s demand and there’s pressure on the system and what we’ve been trying to do is build more places.”

The presenter said: “But going back to my question, this money is coming out of the funds you’d already announced, right?”

Attempting to avoid the question again, the minister said: ”£2.6bn is the total which will get us the 60,000 places. This £850m is the last tranche of that, and that is to build a whole load of free schools, and add capacity, all across the country.”

Kay said: “OK, so it’s not new money, but clearly you say it’s going to make a difference.”

It is not the first time that Keegan has endured a difficult round of broadcast interviews.

She clashed with Sky News presenter Trevor Phillips last month over the government’s plans to provide more free childcare places.

And last year, she was roasted on LBC and Radio Four over the crumbling schools scandal.

Keegan was also criticised two weeks ago after she said she would “punch” a schools inspector if they were rude.


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