Clegg repeats ‘cradle to college’ pledge but questions remain unanswered

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has repeated his pledge to protect education funding “from cradle to college” in his last party conference speech before the election.

Mr Clegg told delegates at the Liberal Democrat conference at the SECC in Glasgow this afternoon that his party would protect education funding for everyone up to age 19, while also providing a two-thirds discount on travel to educational institutions for 16 to 21-year-olds if it returns as a junior coalition partner next May.

But questions about the detail of the policy remain unanswered. The party has not yet clarified whether the budget will be protected as a whole or in three separate parts – for early years, school and 16 to 19 education – to prevent large amounts of money from being moved from one to another.

He told conference that, “given half a chance, anyone can shine”, adding: “For me, that is what our new commitment to expanding childcare to all two, three and four-year-olds is all about. That is what our new commitment to healthy lunches for all primary school children is all about.

“That is what our new commitment to helping with the travel costs faced by all college students is all about. That is what our new commitment to a qualified teacher in every classroom is all about. That is what protecting funding from cradle to college – even as we clear the deficit – is all about.”

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