Monday, 20 December 2010

Education plans fail the economic test

When the Tories are challenged on their devastating cuts programme they will deny it is an ideological choice and insist the cuts are necessary to reduce the budget deficit. Why are they so shy about revealing the truth about their plans?

One reason is that spending on health, education and keeping people working is generally popular. Most people understand it is something that makes our society a better place to live. So, the Tories would rather frighten people with talk of future generations burdened by a national debt that is out of control.

But almost every cut they make can be show to have the opposite effect. Cutting back on investment in education and jobs will invariably lead to a widening deficit. Investment, on the other hand, will almost always pay dividends by generating economic growth and reducing the deficit.

There is plenty of economic evidence that investment works. Michael Burke, at the Socialist Economic Bulletin, takes on the government’s plans for education funding and shows how illogical it really is.

In two articles he shows how cutting Education Maintenance Allowance for poorer families will widen the deficit and how investing in education as a whole delivers both short and long-term economic benefits.

These are important arguments as they undercut the ‘common sense’ propaganda from the Tories. They also show that the student protestors are not engaged in a selfish campaign. Their fight really is in the interests of the whole of society.