The difference between the Labour and Conservative manifestos is that when Labour was in power, in 1997, 2001 and 2005, our manifesto pledged to increase spending on education, and we delivered on that. It is the Conservative Government who are not delivering on their promises. Government Members should hold them to account.
Instead of proper funding for our schools and investment in our future, we have seen years of regressive tax giveaways to the wealthiest, and now the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have threatened to turn Britain into an offshore tax haven for billionaires—a bargain basement economy that loses billions of pounds in tax revenues each and every year. The Government are faced with choices, and time and again they make the wrong decision.
I know that every Member, on both sides of the House, will want every child in their constituency and in our country to get the best possible start in life, but if the Government do not change their course, that simply will not be possible. So today is the chance for the Secretary of State to tell us whether she will keep her manifesto pledge and commit to provide the real-term increase in school budgets that was promised. If she will not, I call on all Members of the House to send a clear message today: that we will accept nothing but the best possible start in life for every child in our country.