Today's Daily Telegraph editorial repeats the lie that standards in health and education have got worse under Labour, claiming that this amounts to a 'betrayal' of voters. Really? In health, waiting times are down to an 18-week maximum, where 18 months was common in 1997. A&E waits are down to four hours and trolley crises have disappeared. In education, just 52% of primary pupils got a level 4 in both English and Maths in 1997. This year, despite a small drop, 72% did so. In secondary schools, there were 1600 - or half of all secondary - schools in 1997 where fewer than 30% of pupils gained five decent GCSEs including English and Maths. This year there were just 270. There are over 1500 new schools built and lots of new hospitals and GP centres.
The argument on 'education productivity' is ludicrous. Using the definition favoured by ONS it would be possible to achieve greater educational productivity by increasing class sizes (which have fallen) and by replacing experienced teachers (whose numbers have grown) with classroom assistants. Had the Labour government done so, it would indeed have been guilty of betrayal. And, incidentally, if the Tories increase surplus places to allow new schools, they will find that it may increase choice, but it will also probably reduce 'productivity'.