Cuts Watch #339: Books Trust (again)
On Christmas Eve, we reported on the Department for Education’s 100 per cent cuts in funding of schemes run by the Book Trust that give children books at key points in their lives. Over the next few days it emerged that leading authors were very critical of this move. Today, the Telegraph, Independent and Guardian all report that Michael Gove has caved in in record time, and that the Department and the Trust have issued a joint statement, saying that “the DFE will continue to fund Booktrust book-gifting programmes in the future” and that:
Although the current contract will end in April, the department is talking to Booktrust about how to develop a new programme which will ensure that every child can enjoy the gift of books at crucial moments in their lives while ensuring we develop an even more effective way of supporting the most disadvantaged families to read together. The department and Booktrust will be working together, with publishers, in order to ensure that we can make every possible saving in developing an enhanced programme.
There is nothing on the websites of either the Department or the Book Trust at the moment, but this unanimity suggests that there’s been some careful briefing going on. The papers all describe this as a “U-Turn”, but that statement certainly leaves room for an alternative with much reduced public funding.