NASUWT comments on the autumn statement

Commenting on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:

“Hard as the Chancellor tried in his Autumn Statement, he could not conceal the fact that real terms cuts will continue to hit public services.

“Today, there are more children living in poverty in households where adults are in work, than those children living in poverty where adults are not working. The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement will be cold comfort to them. 3.7 million children live in poverty in the UK today and yet the Chancellor pledges to continue to cut vital financial support for families.

“The Coalition Government claims it is committed to social mobility. Health, housing and poverty are three factors which are key to children’s educational attainment. Strategies to deliver on these three issues for children and young people are noticeable by their absence.

“The Chancellor’s ideological pursuit of austerity economics is continuing to take its toll on our public services and has led to economic misery for millions of ordinary working people and their families.

“The Coalition Government’s own figures confirm that across the economy real earnings have fallen by 1.6% over the past year, and that earnings have continued to fall year after year for seven consecutive years, the longest period of falling earnings since records began.

“Key workers in public services have faced a succession of pay freezes and pay caps. Teachers’ pay has also fallen well behind the rising cost of living with a cut of 15% in real terms. Now teachers and other public service workers face pay restraint to the end of the decade, representing even deeper cuts to pay to those who work day in day out to deliver essential services.

“This announcement comes at a time when over 50% of teachers are reporting their school has still not paid them the miserly 1% cost of living pay award to which they were entitled from September 1.

“Teacher morale is at an all-time low with over 61% having considered leaving the profession altogether in the last year. There is now a real risk that the country will not have the teachers it needs to secure its future.

“Further cuts to public spending on education will only serve to undermine economic recovery and future prosperity.”

Notes to editors

UNICEF has also reported that the UK child poverty rate had risen to more than one in four children. And, independent forecasts show that close to one million more children will be in poverty by 2020 as a result of real terms cuts to in work tax credits and other benefits. This is an unacceptable position for the sixth largest economy in the world.

The NASUWT has conducted research into the increasing costs of education and the impact of financial hardship on children and young people. Copies of this are available on request.

The NASUWT has conducted an annual survey of teacher opinion since 2011 which highlights the growing concerns of the teacher profession about the impact of Coalition Government education policy. Full details of this research are available on request.