Ed Davey demands “emergency Budget for children” with £15 billion for Catch-Up classes

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey is demanding an “emergency Budget for children,” with a total of £15 billion of funding for catch-up classes.

The Liberal Democrats are warning that parents and children are being “short-changed,” and that with the “Covid clouds gathering”, children risk paying the biggest price if restrictions are introduced again this winter.

It comes after research by the Liberal Democrats reveals teachers have been off for over 267,000 days due to Covid since the return of school in September. It means children have lost out on the equivalent of 1.5 million teaching hours because of the government’s failure to keep the virus in schools under control.

Separate research by the Education Policy Institute last week warned that children could lose earnings of up to £46,000 each over their lifetimes unless the government steps in to provide more catch-up funding. The current £3 billion being provided is the equivalent of just 67p of catch up funding for every £100 of lost earnings children could face over their lives.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a total of £15 billion of catch-up funding, in line with the amount recommended by former Education Recovery Commissioner Sir Kevan Collins. The party is proposing that £5 billion of this should be provided in £200 catch-up vouchers for every child, or double that amount for disadvantaged pupils, putting money into the hands of parents to spend on what their children need most.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said: “Children have already been forced to bear the brunt of the pandemic, losing millions of days of learning. With the Covid clouds gathering again, we need an emergency children’s budget.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey

“The paltry funding being offered by the Conservatives for catch-up schooling is a shadow of what’s needed. The Chancellor is short-changing children and their parents, and risks creating a lost generation unless he changes course.

“The Liberal Democrats will stand up for children whose life chances are being permanently damaged by the actions of this Conservative government. We are demanding a fair deal for children and parents through an extra £12 billion of catch up funding, including £200 vouchers for every child.

“Empowering parents and investing in our children’s future is not just the right thing to do, it’s the best way to help our economy recover from the pandemic in the long term.”

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