The “single most important investment” the government can make is in education, the chancellor said today in his pre-Budget speech.
Announcing plans to increase the amount of government spending per pupil next year, Gordon Brown said this would result in direct payments to a typical primary school rising from £39,000 this year to £50,000 next year. For a typical secondary school, the figure would rise from £150,000 to £200,000.
Brown said that this was the equivalent of £200 per pupil from April.
Acknowledging the need to address the causes of child poverty, Brown announced that child benefit would be extended to mothers expecting a child.
However, Save the Children UK director Colette Marshall warned that this was not enough.
“There are few chances left for the chancellor to act decisively to meet the target of halving child poverty by 2010,” Marshall said. “Today’s pre-Budget report was a missed opportunity.”
4Children chief executive Anne Longfield added that investment needed to go beyond education and the school day.
“With raging debate and concerns about teenagers in our society, the issue of how to provide for children within a changing society remains high and this money should be used to help turn schools into community centres for children of all ages,” she said. “One million young people are left hanging around on the street with nothing to do every day – this is simply unacceptable in the current climate of concern about the dangers that face young people today.”