HM Treasury: Summer Budget 2015
The Budget (in July) lasted around 75 minutes and the Chancellor used his Budget to outline the planned course of future public spending. At the previous Budget, the Chancellor set out a plan to balance the Government budget by 2018 and would do this by cutting £25 billion in two years, £13 billion of which was to come from departmental budgets.
This has now been increased and the Government wish to cut £32 billion in public spending with £20 billion coming from departmental budgets but over five years rather than two. The Chancellor stated that the rate of spending cuts will be the same in the future as it was in the last five years.
The key announcements that relate to education and skills include:
- A levy on large employers to fund 3 million new, high quality apprenticeships this parliament. Further details of this will be set out in the Spending Review
- Supporting sustainable investment in universities by turning maintenance grants into loans, saving £2.5 billion by 2020-21. Grants will be replaced by Loans from the 16-17 academic year and will only be repayable once earnings exceed £21k a year
- The Government will be consulting on whether to freeze the loan repayment threshold for the next 5 years
- To help young people get into work there will be a new Youth Obligation for 16 to 21-year-olds on Universal Credit. From April 2017, young people will be expected to participate in an extensive regime of support from day 1 of their benefit claim, and after 6 months they will be expected to apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship, gain work-based skills, or go a mandatory work placement to give them skills they need to move into sustainable employment
- The Government will be allowing institutions with high teaching quality to increase their tuition fees in line with inflation from 2017-18
- The Government has confirmed it will continue with its plans to support a network of National Colleges which will provide high quality professional and technical routes into employment throughout the UK
- It was announced that Nottingham in the East Midlands would receive a share of £23 million in order to set up a Next Generation Digital Economy Centres
The link to the full Budget can be found here.