Keir Starmer tweeted on Thursday that British children have lost over eight weeks of face-to-face teaching this year, and 14 weeks last year.
“The Tories’ catch-up plan is so inadequate that their own catch-up tsar resigned,” he said.
Starmer – the successor of far-left, anti-establishment former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – said the Conservative government needs to match Labour’s ambition for British children by backing their £15 billion Children’s Recovery Fund.
The proposed fund is aimed at fighting the increase in poverty among children in the UK, which the Labour Party claim is the fault of the ruling Conservatives.
According to the ‘Children’s Recovery Plan’, 700,000 British children have been pushed into poverty since 2010, and in the past year, half a million children are estimated to have become eligible for free school meals.
“The Conservatives should be ashamed of this record,” it reads.
Negative reactions to Starmer’s tweet are somewhat reflective of the turbulent nature of British politics, especially following Brexit.
Several people asked Starmer where the £15 billion would come from and whether it would require cuts to other sectors.
Another told the Labour leader that he “can’t just keep inventing large figures,” and that the UK borrowed “over 400 billion to deal with the pandemic,” a figure which is somewhat in line with BBC reporting that stated from April 2020-21, the UK borrowed £299 billion to deal with the pandemic.
One person responded by saying, “the problem is, that you are a Tory Sir,” referencing Starmer’s Oxford education and ‘soft left’ alignment compared to Corbyn’s more radical positions.
The Conservative Party has been in power since 2010. Led by Boris Johnson, they successfully campaigned in 2016 for Britain to leave the European Union, causing a huge divide between ‘Remain’ and ‘Leave’ voters. The next general election is in 2024.
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