The Spending Review 2015: What it means for Education and Local Authority folk

The Spending Review 2015: What it means for Education and Local Authority folk

Mr George O revealed the combined Autumn Statement and Spending Review for the UK yesterday.

Admittedly, it was always going to be a ‘swings and roundabouts’ affair; with some sectors left feeling relieved, whilst others were left feeling concerned (and probably angry) after the announcement.  We kept a close eye on the Houses of Parliament yesterday and pulled together the key points concerning the Education and Local Gov sectors.

The Top Level stuff

Overall, education funding has been cut by 17%. The Government will though attempt to improve the way current funding is allocated. Ideally, this should mean the way our government distributes money within the sector is much fairer.

Over in the Local Authority sector, the Better Care social fund will rise by 1.9%. An extra £11.5bn is estimated to go towards council budgets from business rates, instead of solely from central government grants; which will be eradicated by 2020.

Higher Education

The teaching grant is set be reduced nationally by £120 million, in cash terms, by 2020; however high cost subject funding will remain protected. The Student Opportunity Fund for disabled and financially restricted students has been cut too, which will likely turn into a loan repayment system.  Mature students will be able to receive funding to complete their masters. This was after the government discarded plans to restrict funding to those over 30; this provides greater support to mature students. The science budget has been protected, and the research budget is set to rise by £500 million.

Student loans

A maintenance loan for part-time students will come into play during the 2018 and 2019 academic year. Expected to help around 150,000 part-time students, the loan is designed to contribute towards the cost of living and studies. For those who are studying for a HE qualification in an FE college, there will also be tuition fee loans available. However, direct funding for nurse training will now be replaced by a loan.  Students wanting to study for a second degree can now receive a tuition fee loan, providing they study science, technology, engineering or maths courses.

College to Academies

Sixth Form colleges will be able to convert into education academies. This means the FE institution could claim back their VAT costs, which obviously means there is more money in the pot for another projects (like digital marketing!). If a Sixth Form college decides to make the move, they will join a Multi Academy Trust, who will play an integral part in improving standards.

Social Care

Local councils will be able to provide more funding towards social care in their area. The government will give these local councils the power to increase council tax by 2%; this could result though in £6.3bn rise in council tax across the UK.

Let us know how the Spending Review and Autumn Statement has affected you by tweeting @netnatives.