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Jeremy Corbyn announces £5bn schools investment - and shadow chancellor claims party would scrap tuition fees

PUBLISHED: 13:57 10 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:51 10 May 2017

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the Burston Strike School Rally during a visit to Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the Burston Strike School Rally during a visit to Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Jeremy Corbyn has announced that almost £5bn will be invested in English schools as part of a wide-ranging National Education Service.

The Labour leader revealed the plans an at education conference in Leeds on Wednesday morning.

It came on the day that footage emerged of the party’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell saying the party would scrap tuition fees at a rally in Mansfield two weeks ago, words which were not reported at the time.

But there was no mention of tuition fees during Mr Corbyn’s announcement.

It has led to speculation that Labour will include the promise in its election manifesto.

Mr Corbyn did confirm that his National Education Service would be funded from the £20bn Labour says would be raised by hiking corporation tax from 19pc to 26pc by 2021/22 and would see classes for five to seven-year-olds kept below 30.

If Mr Corbyn were to become Prime Minister, the plans would include:

• A real terms funding increase - with £4.8bn going to schools

• Free school meals for all primary school children

• The education maintenance allowance (EMA) for students brought back, which was worth £30 a week

• Maintenance grants for university students reintroduced

• The removal of fees for adult learners looking to retrain or improve skills

But treasury chief secretary David Gauke said the plans were unrealistic.

“Jeremy Corbyn can’t deliver any of this - they’re just made up promises on the back of nonsensical spending plans,” he said.

“He’s spent this damaging tax rise on businesses on 12 different things and he’s already dropped numerous things he’s said he’d do before.”

Mr Corbyn said: “People of all ages are being held back by a lack of funding for education, and this in turn is holding back the economy by depriving industry of the untapped talent of thousands of people.

“The Conservatives have spent seven years starving schools of funding, meaning headteachers are having to send begging letters to parents to ask for money.

“They have also cut support for students and forced colleges to increase fees. It’s created a downward spiral that is bad for the people being held back and bad for the economy.”

He said Labour’s National Education Service would “transform” schools.

Launching his National Education Service today Jeremy Corbyn hinted Labour could vow to scrap the fees, telling a journalist: “You’ll have to wait for the manifesto.

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