Lib Dems promise 20,000 more teachers in £10bn annual education boost

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to spend an extra £10 billion a year on schools and recruit 20,000 more teachers if they gain power.

As the party launches its General Election manifesto on Wednesday, the Lib Dems are promising to reverse frontline school cuts imposed since 2015 with an "emergency cash injection" of £4.6 billion next year.

The Lib Dems insisted that by 2024/25, the party will spend £10.6 billion more on schools than in 2019/20.

The money will help boost teacher numbers by 20,000 over five years, the Lib Dems said.

The party said it would attract and retain teachers by increasing starting salaries to £30,000 and guaranteeing all teachers a pay rise of at least 3% a year over the next five years.

New teachers will be offered a starting salary of £30,000 under Lib Dem plans. Credit: PA

The extra resources would also be used to boost support for children with special educational needs or a disability.

Some £7 billion would be spent on improving school buildings over the next five years, the party said.

The Lib Dems insisted £10 billion of what it claims would be a £50 billion economic bonus from staying in the EU would be used to increase school funding.

Party leader Jo Swinson said: "This is an investment in our children's future. Our schools should be world class, helping every child make the most of the challenges ahead.

"But instead, they are trailing behind. The Conservatives have cut school funding to the bone and children have paid the price, especially those with the most complex needs.

Education spending would be financed by a 'Brexit bonus', say the Lib Dems. Credit: PA

"It is disgraceful that some schools feel they have no choice but to ask parents to chip in for supplies, and are closing early on Friday to balance the books.

"Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future for every child. By stopping Brexit, we can spend £10 billion of our Remain bonus on reversing school cuts and hiring 20,000 more teachers - so that pupils can leave school happy, healthy and with the skills they need to succeed in life."

In Tuesday night's ITV Election Interviews programme, Ms Swinson also said they had plans for a "frequent flyer" tax.

She said: "We've got plans for a frequent flyer levy that would certainly be discouraging many flights but would be raising revenue from that, so it wouldn't be an outright ban or limit but would be an effective measure to change behaviour."

The party is due to unveils its full manifesto later on Wednesday.