DfE to slice £450m from non-schools budget

The Department for Education (DfE) will cut £450m from its non-schools budget for the current financial year.  The Department for Education savings of £450m in the current financial year are part of £4.5bn of savings announced by Chancellor George Osborne to reduce public debt.

The Treasury said savings within the DfE will come from "tightly managing departmental budgets in-year, so that instead of spending up to budget, departments deliver underspends" and from "savings in the administration of arms-length bodies in the department".

Schools budgets will not be touched as a result of the Conservatives' manifesto promise to protect per-pupil spending, including rising pupil numbers, during the next parliament.

Alison O’Sullivan, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), described the £450m in cuts as "very worrying".

“Some of the most critical services for vulnerable children, young people and their families sit under this banner including safeguarding, children’s centres and youth justice," she said.  "On top of this the Department for Communities and Local Government is reducing its spend by £230m, local public health spending will see savings of £200m and spending on further and higher education will reduce by £450m.  The cumulative effect of these measures will impact heavily on our work.   Managing high levels of demand is a growing challenge but our members remain committed to ensuring the provision of high-quality services.  The signs are now all too visible that the system is approaching the limits of capacity to continue to absorb pressures from all sides.”

A DfE spokesperson said: “These savings will come from a variety of measures including expected departmental underspends in demand-led budgets, efficiencies and some small budgetary reductions.”

The DfE has already made extensive cuts in recent years.

Recent government statistics on spending by local authorities reveals that spending on children’s centres and early years services has been cut by more than £400m in the space of just three years.