Tim Farron criticises potential Portsmouth school funding cuts during visit
PROPOSALS that critics claim could see the loss of hundreds of teachers from schools across Portsmouth have been labelled '˜appalling and unacceptable' by the Liberal Democrats' leader.
Tim Farron pledged the party would commit £7bn to schools across the country during a visit to special school, The Mary Rose Academy in Milton yesterday.
During the visit, he met the school’s headteacher Alison Beane and entered a number of classrooms to speak to a handful of pupils.
As reported in The News, Figures provided by the National Union for Teachers stated that Portsmouth was expected to lose 262 teachers by the end of 2019 under the government’s current proposed funding formula.
He told The News: ‘These figures have been vetted by the National Audit Office and are really frightening. They show that schools across Portsmouth are going to lose more than 200 teaching posts.
‘This is appalling and unacceptable. A Liberal Democrat government will keep our teachers in jobs and reverse these proposed cuts, raising £7bn for our schools.
‘The Lib Dems are backing Portsmouth and offering the city hope.’
To raise the £7bn, the Lib Dems say they would increase corporation tax and axe plans for new grammar schools.
Flick Drummond, Tory candidate for Portsmouth South questioned the figures, stating: ‘Mr Farron has got his figures wrong here.
‘Under the proposed formula, schools in Portsmouth will receive an overall increase in funding of £1.2m so a Tory government would bring a boost to funding for the city’s schools.’
A consultation into the formula – which was proposed by the Department for Education last year – took place earlier this year.
The News previously reported the concerns of headteachers that while some schools would receive benefits under the new formula, others would miss out.
Stephen Morgan, Labour candidate for Portsmouth South added: ‘While it is nice of Tim Farron to pop into Portsmouth and finally offer some policy ideas, the truth is you cannot trust the Lib Dems. They will say anything to get elected but they have a record of broken promises.
‘The facts are clear, only Labour offer a real alternative government to the Tories.
‘Labour will increase schools funding, cut class sizes and provide free school meals for all primary school children. We will also scrap tuition and college fees. ‘
That’s what the people of Portsmouth deserve and I will stand up with local people to make sure they happen.’
Lib Dem candidate Gerald Vernon-Jackson issued his thanks to the party leader for coming down to the city, stating: ‘It is great that we got Tim down here. It shows to me that the party really believe that we can win here.’