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School leaders say the chancellor’s spring statement failed to address the financial pressures facing schools and teachers.

“Schools are reporting huge increases in their energy bills and the government expects them to fund pay awards out of these stretched budgets too,” said Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders.

We are gravely concerned that [schools] are facing a fresh funding crisis. This is compounded by the inadequacy of the proposed pay award for many staff which comes after a pay freeze and is likely to worsen retention rates.

Dr Patrick Roach, the general secretary of the NASUWT teachers’ union, said latest research had shown that more than one in five teachers are “very worried” about their finances, with some using food banks and 12% taking a second job.

While the announcements about fuel duty and national insurance will offer some modest assistance, our members are still facing a deepening crisis in making ends meet and there was little in today’s statement that will offer them much comfort or reassurance.

NASUWT (@NASUWT)

While the announcements on fuel duty & NI will offer some modest assistance, our members are still facing a deepening crisis in making ends meet & there was little in the #SpringStatement that will offer them much comfort or reassurance. https://t.co/TUiolnClub#CostOfLiving

March 23, 2022

There was similar dismay in the early years sector. Neil Leitch, the CEO of the Early Years Alliance, said:

Today’s spring statement was an opportunity for the government to address the early years funding crisis but, yet again, it has failed to do so.

Ultimately it is parents and providers who will pay the price.

At a post-statement briefing a Treasury spokesman blamed inflation on the war in Ukraine and acknowledged that much of the help would not come until next year. He said:

The chancellor set out in his speech that obviously the costs of the war in Ukraine are going to have a domestic impact and he can’t fully protect people from all of those costs. But he’s set out a plan today that provides £22bn worth of support for households up and down the country next year as they grapple with some of these challenges.

Asked why there was little in the statement that would help those not working, earning too little to pay tax and pensioners, the spokesman pointed to the £500m increase in the household support fund administered by local councils for those most in need.

Source: This post first appeared on The Guardian

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