In June, Balls said he could see spending rises for schools and hospitals…
In an interview on Radio 5 Live, Ed Balls came close to committing Labour to increasing spending on health and education from April 2011: ‘If we can get the economy right - as I believe we are doing - I think we can see spending rising on health and schools in real terms after 2011’ (BBC 5 Live, 15 June 2009).Before backing down from his comments.
But after a dressing down from the Treasury, Balls changed his line: ‘We want to see schools and NHS spending rising [after 2011] but we can’t make those commitments now’ (WATO, 15 June 2009).
In September, he confirmed there would be £2 billion of cuts for schools…
Then, Ed Balls confirmed there would be cuts: ‘in an interview with The Sunday Times, Balls detailed more than £2 billion of cost savings worth 5 per cent of the total schools budget’ (The Sunday Times, 20 September 2009). He then even began to outline where the axe will fall. In a BBC interview, Ed Balls said that, ‘under the head there’s deputies, there’s assistant head teachers and what we can do is we can pool leadership together and that can free up resource as well’, while Mr Balls’s aides said that up to 3,000 posts could be eliminated (The Daily Telegraph, 21 September 2009) equating to 1 in 12 deputy and assistant heads (DCSF, School Workforce in England, January 2009, May 2009).
Just days before Brown promised to raise spending on schools.
In his speech to the Labour Party Conference, Brown said ‘in the next five years we cannot and will not cut support to our schools. We will not invest less, but more.’ (Gordon Brown, Speech to the Labour Party Conference, 29 September 2009).
And now, in November, Balls is asking the Treasury for an increase in cash for his Department.
In the Financial Times today, Balls is reported to have requested a 1.3 per cent annual increase in the budget for the Department for Children, Schools and Families. However, according to the Evening Standard, this has been rebuffed by the Treasury (Evening Standard, 17 November 2009).
And they have the cheek to talk about 'joined up government'! Balls to that...