Examination of Witnesses (Questions 400-419)|
13 DECEMBER 2006
Q400 Mr Gauke: According to the IFS
only £0.1 billion relates to capital, and that is not going
to schools. I asked Ms Brivati for an answer and she was not able
to give the figures yesterday. She said she would write to me
before the close of play. We have an answer but it does not begin
to address the question of what new money announced in the PBR
related to capital expenditure. We have the evidence from the
IFS; they say there is nothing for schools on capital. They say
there is more money for colleges. Do you dispute that?
Mr Brown: Which year are you talking
about? What we have done is we have announced 2006-07 expenditure,
we have announced new figures for 2007-08, we have announced new
figures for 2008-09 and we have announced figures for 2009-10
and 2010-11. Which figures are you talking aboutwhich yearso
we can go through each one of these years and clarify it for you?
Q401 Mr Gauke: For the next year
I think we are talking about £0.1 billion. Is that right?
Mr Brown: We are talking about
expenditure per individual school and then we are talking about
additional money for colleges as well. Yes.
Q402 Mr Gauke: So what is the breakdown?
Mr Brown: I said that £170
million had been put into schools and £120 million of that
was for English schools.
I think you are right;
£100 million has been put into further education colleges.
So it is additional money.
Q403 Mr Gauke: Let us move on to current
spending. You quoted, again, this morning the extra £200
going directly to schools.
Mr Brown: That is what I have
Q404 Mr Gauke: Indeed, the £200.
Again, according to the IFS, £120 of that was announced before
the last Budget, £60 of it was announced at the last Budget,
which leaves only £20 per pupil new money. Is that correct?
Mr Brown: I hope you support the
fact that we have actually increased
Q405 Mr Gauke: Is that correct?
Mr Brown: It is additional money.
Q406 Mr Gauke: The announcement was
£20 new money. That is the effect. I take the whole figure
as £200, but £180 of it has been announced before. Do
Mr Brown: I do not think it is
£20 because there is a different figure for primary schools
and secondary schools. So it is £225 per pupil in secondary
schools, and £200 for pupils in primary schools. I think,
if I am right, there is a bigger rise for primary schools as opposed
to secondary schools. It does mean that the typical primary school
will be around £50,000 in 2007-08 and the typical secondary
school will be £200,000, and I raised it from what I had
already announced in the Budget.
Q407 Mr Gauke: Chancellor, the reason
why I am asking these questions is because the central political
message of your Budget was "more money for schools".
Mr Brown: So it is.
Q408 Mr Gauke: I look at the press
beforehand. I do not think they have made all this up. This is
from the Press Association: "Mr Brown is expected to announce
new cash for refurbishment of thousands of state schools";
we have got the BBC: "The Chancellor is expected to announce
big investment in schools and colleges"; the Financial
Times: "Gordon Brown will put fresh investment for schools
at the heart of Wednesday's Pre-Budget Report". The figure
we are talking about is £20.
Mr Brown: No, it is not.
Q409 Mr Gauke: That is the new announcement.
Mr Brown: Mr Chairman, we have
got to get this in its proper perspective. We have announced money
for this year (that is 2007-08the coming year); we have
also announced money for 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11. The total
cumulative announcements run into billions, and because by 2010-11
we are spending £10 billion on education and £8 billion
on schools, it is right to say that this is the biggest ever capital
investment programme. If you want to go back to 2006-07, current
expenditure, we have the additional expenditure per pupil, we
have the increase in the Every Child a Reader programme, we have
the increase in the amount of money going for personal tuition,
we have the increase in the London
Q410 Mr Gauke: Chancellor, this has
all been announced before. There is very little new money. This
is what The Sun said the morning before: "Brown's
Class Act. Chancellor's refit for 21,000 schools to cost billions".
It is old money.
Mr Brown: It is not old money.
Q411 Mr Gauke: Chancellor, this is
spin. This is pure spin. You have announced nearly all of it before.
£200, all but £20, has been announced before. The billions
on capital have all been announced before. You are the biggest
spin merchant north of Shane Warne. You make the Prime Minister
look like Ashley Giles. Is there any wonder there is a lack of
trust in politicians.
Mr Brown: Mr Chairman, we have
just announced the biggest programme of education investment in
the history of the country. There is £10.2 billion for education
by 2010-11; there is £8 billion for schools; we announced
Q412 Mr Gauke: Which you have announced
Mr Brown: No, it is not true.
We have announced new figures for the years 2007-08 (I have just
given you them) for current and for capital expenditure. We have
announced new figures for 2008-09 and we have announced new figures
for 2009-10. Unless you are prepared to deny that the cumulative
effect of all the announcements we have made is the biggest educational
investment programme in our historyand I would like to
know whether the Conservative Party is prepared to support this
new investment in schoolsI think what you are saying is
completely misleading. We have just put billions more into the
schools and the colleges as well.
Q413 Mr Gauke: Chancellor, would
you accept that the rate of increase of capital expenditure on
schools and education as a whole is dropping? From 1997 to 2007
it was going at around 15-16% and from 2007 to 2011 it is going
to be round about 4.9% for schools and 4.3% for education as a
Mr Brown: In real terms it is
much higher than the inflation rate and is probably going to be
the highest of any of the major departments, simply because we
have this huge additional programme of investment in schools.
The test of this is going to be the number of primary schools
that are given new facilities and the number of secondary schools
that are given new facilities. I am surprised that Members of
this Committee think it is almost a spin to announce that schools
in our constituenciesand almost every one of our constituencies
benefits from this Building Schools for the Future programmeare
not going to get money when they are going to get money. We are
going to have refurbishments of schools to give
Q414 Mr Gauke: It has been announced
three or four times. You keep re-announcing it. There is very
little new money.
Mr Brown: I am sorry, it has not
been announced three or four times, and you have not proved your
point because I have just told you that in 2006-07 there is more
money; in 2008-09 there is more money; in 2009-10 there is more
money and in 2010-11 there is more money. In each of these years
I have given new figures to the House of Commons for the amount
of investment that is taking place. Okay, the Conservatives are
not interested in the amount of investment going into the schools;
they are simply interested in what sort of figures and percentages
and everything else. The fact of the matter is more investment
is going into our schools.
Q415 Mr Gauke: Chancellor, can I
look at public expenditure more generally, briefly. According
to the projections that we have within the PBR, from 2008-09 to
2011-12 it is forecast to grow at 2% or below in real terms. That
is above inflation but below, presumably, the growth rate of GDP.
Are you content that as a consequence public spending will be
falling as a percentage of GDP?
Mr Brown: You will get the announcement
of the final results of the Comprehensive Spending Review when
we publish it during the course of next year.
Q416 Mr Gauke: The projections are
that public spending will fall as a percentage of GDP.
Mr Brown: These are projections;
you will get the final announcements during the course of next
year, and all I can say is that these are the projections.
Q417 Mr Gauke: Do you have any objection
in principle to public spending over these years falling as a
percentage of GDP, as you are assuming?
Mr Brown: I have always said you
have to do what is right for the country, and what is right for
the country may be, in some years, percentages going up and, in
some years, percentages going down, but we are going to do what
is right for the country. Final figures will be published when
we have completed our review.
Q418 Mr Gauke: If public spending
is above the rate of inflation but falling as a percentage of
GDP, do you consider that to be a cut?
Mr Brown: I think you will have
to wait until you see the final figure
Q419 Mr Gauke: Theoretically, if
public spending is falling as a percentage of GDP is that a cut?
Mr Brown: You have got this wrong,
because in every Budget a government must make a decision between
the balance between tax and spending and the stability of the
economy. As far as the results of our public spending review are
concerned, these will be published during the course of the next
year. You will just have to be patient and wait and see what the
1 Note from Witness: This refers to current
spending, as the answer to Q403 states. Back
Note from Witness: The correct figure is £250 million,
not £100 million. Back