Child illiteracy will be eradicated by 2025 and we will not cut the college, school and nursery budgets after the general election, the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) pledged. They say the Tories will reduce education funding by ₤13 billion annually.
According to primary school results published in December 2014, seventy-eight percent of children reached Level 4b in reading, the required skill level to cope with secondary school. Mr. Clegg says his party is committed to pushing that figure to 100% by 2025.
Deputy Prime-Minister, Nick Clegg, who is also leader of the Liberal Democrats (since 2007), said:
“The Coalition Government has cut illiteracy but it is nothing short of a national scandal that a fifth of children are still leaving primary school unable to read at a level that will allow them to succeed in later life.”
“We are the only party who can make this commitment because, astonishingly, we are the only party committed to protecting the education budget from cradle to college in the next five years.”
“It’s because we will make sure our schools have the resources they need, that I can say with confidence that we will be able to end child illiteracy by 2025.”
Mr. Clegg says his party is the only one with a clear plan to protect the education budget. (Image: Liberal Democrats)
Mr. Clegg claims his party protected the schools budget in the Coalition Government. He said it introduced the Pupil Premium, expanded free childcare and ensured that every infant receives a free meal every day to help them learn.
He turned on his coalition partners, the Conservatives, saying they are planning to savage the education budget by ₤13 billion, which will put all these achievements at risk.
He added that the Labour Party’s silence on education “doesn’t fill me with confidence.”
You have to invest in education if you want to make sure that every child can succeed, regardless of their background, Mr. Clegg added. “You can’t build a fairer society for free.”
Norman Lamb, a Liberal Democrat MP who has been Minister of State for Care and Support since 2012, pledged his party would put an end to people with mental health problems being locked up in prison.
Source: “Nick Clegg pledges to end illiteracy by 2025 by ensuring every child leaves Primary School able to read,” Liberal Democrat Voice, Sunday January 18th.
Labour accuses the Lib Dems of breaking promises as part of the coalition, and undermined education standards by allowing teachers without qualifications.
Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, which is heading a group of charities campaigning to end child illiteracy, said:
“It is shocking that one in five children leaves primary school unable to read well and that children from poorer families are nearly twice as likely to fall behind. Today’s backing by the Liberal Democrats for the Read On, Get On mission to get every 11-year-old reading well by 2025 is warmly welcomed.”
“To see this ambition become a reality, we now need to see every party follow suit. Our children’s futures, and our country’s future prosperity, depend upon it.”