Letter: Schools need more cash

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The Independent Online
DAVID BLUNKETT'S letter (9 April) did not help me to understand Anthony Bevins' report of education cuts (8 April). Mr Blunkett says that Mr Bevins' figures "fail to include the pounds 2bn sale of student debt".

The sale of student debt, which raises money, is treated under the arcane rules of public expenditure as negative spending: in other words, to include it would reduce the quoted total of spending. Whether or not it is included, the receipts are in any event passed to the Treasury and it makes no difference to what is purchased for educational purposes.

Is Mr Blunkett saying that some of Mr Bevins' figures should be lower? Does he want some negative spending notionally included in earlier years to produce a notional (and meaningless) rise in expenditure for later years? Is he saying anything at all?

It seems to me that if there is a clear and present increase in educational spending, it should shine through the routine Treasury obfuscation of spending figures. It may even be noticed in the schools. It seems that it doesn't and it isn't. I draw my own conclusions.

WILLIAM ALLEN

Oxshott, Surrey

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