The Liberal Democrats yesterday announced plans to create a £17bn infrastructure fund to repair schools and hospitals across England.
The new infrastructure fund would give an extra £7bn to schools in England which, the party said, would allow them to ‘focus spending on education rather than maintenance.’
The remaining £10bn would be allocated to hospitals over the next Parliament, helping address a £5bn backlog in delayed repairs to NHS buildings and infrastructure.
The infrastructure fund would be in addition to the extra £7bn the Liberal Democrats have committed to invest in schools over the next parliament; and the £6bn more a year the party would invest in NHS and social care.
‘Under Theresa May’s Conservatives, our children are being taught in crumbling schools and our sick and elderly are being cared for in overcrowded hospitals,’ said Lib Dem shadow education secretary Sarah Olney.
‘It doesn’t have to be like this. We will invest an additional £7bn in our schools, enough to repair every school in the country.
‘This will allow school budgets to be spent on books, teachers and equipment instead of being diverted to fix leaking roofs.’
Lib Dem health spokesperson Norman Lamb said: ‘We have seen with the recent cyber-attack how inadequate the existing infrastructure is for many hospitals.
‘Under the Conservatives, money that is intended for capital investment is being diverted to plug holes in day-to-day spending. This cannot be allowed to go on.
‘We will invest an additional £10bn of capital spending in the NHS to fix our run-down hospitals, reduce overcrowding and build a modernise our health service.
‘This is on top of the £6bn a year for the NHS and care we would raise by putting a penny on income tax.’
Labour have pledged over £30bn in extra funding for the NHS and a ‘boost’ to capital funding. And the Conservatives have promised to increase NHS funding by a minimum of £8bn in real terms.
The Conservative manifesto said the party will ‘go further’ with its education reforms by building ‘at least’ 100 a year. Labour said they would invest £5bn into schools.