Plaid Carmarthenshire County Councillors defended their cuts budget at the full council meeting on the 21st February 2018. Of course they did not call them cuts they use sanitised language such as ‘savings’ and ‘efficiencies’. Indeed when it comes to the budget for schools they claimed there are no cuts because they have maintained the same budget for schools as last year (£108.7m)! But they don’t stop there they went onto claim they have actually increased funding thanks to the Schools Development Fund (SDF) they have set up, said to be worth £500,000.
With inflation (RPI) running at around 4% maintaining the same budget as last year in the real world will result in serious and significant cuts for school budgets in Carmarthenshire. It seems that the council consider inflation when setting its overall budget, but will not take inflation into account when school budgets are set. Moving the goal posts is a phrase that springs to mind.
These cuts if implemented could result in hundreds of school support staff and teachers jobs being lost. School budgets were under pressure even before these cuts, pupils in many cases were not getting the support they needed. With these cuts the quality of pupils’ education will undoubtedly diminish and children’s life chances will be affected. While the £500,000 claimed to available through the SDF is not enough to stop the cuts management have not yet decide on what basis this money will be allocated or what or how schools will be eligible. Unison and the National Education Union will be seeking to ensure this money is allocated on a fair and equitable basis.
Due the impact these cuts will have on children’s education and our members’ jobs, the Labour Party, National Education Union and Carmarthenshire County Unison has jointly launched a campaign to stop these cuts. We aim to build a mass campaign of opposition involving our members, parents and the public. We intend to leaflet outside schools, hold public meetings, demonstrations and call on our members to take industrial action to defend jobs, have properly financed school budgets and to put children’s’ futures first.