EU immigration, housing and schools: Prime Minister's Questions, factchecked

Published: 20th Apr 2016

Academies

“If you look at converter academies, 88 per cent of them are either good or outstanding. And you look at schools started by academies, they see a 10% improvement on average over the first two years”—David Cameron

Evidence on the performance of academies compared to schools led by local councils is mixed.

It’s correct that 88% of ‘converter academies’ were judged good or outstanding at their latest inspection by Ofsted, as of the last academic year.

But in the past schools had to be judged good or outstanding in order to become a converter academy in the first place, and the same still applies for schools applying to become converter academies on their own rather than as part of a multi-academy trust.

So it's not surprising that these schools continue to be more likely to be judged good or outstanding compared to local authority schools.

We’ve asked the Department for Education what evidence the Prime Minister was referring to when he mentioned the 10% improvement. The government has previously pointed to evidence that performance at the first set of sponsor-led primary academies improved by nine percentage points after being open for two years, double the improvement seen in local authority schools.

But we can’t conclude much from that: the sponsor-led primary schools in the study performed worse to start with, so they had more room to improve.

School spending

“The Institute for Fiscal Studies states that school spending is expected to fall by at least 7% in real terms in the next four years, the biggest cut since the 1970s.”—Jeremy Corbyn

“We have protected spending per pupil all the way through the last parliament and all the way through this parliament.”—David Cameron

Mr Corbyn is right to say that school spending per pupil is expected to fall by at least 7% in real terms over the next four years, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

‘Protected’ spending here only means that school spending per pupil has been frozen. The real value of that money will fall due to rising prices.

The IFS said that would be the largest post-inflation fall over any period since at least the late 1970s.

It also said the cut could be 8%, once expected costs faced by schools are over the period are accounted for.

Spending per pupil kept just ahead of inflation in the last parliament, even though the main schools grant per pupil was only protected in cash terms. Funding made available through the pupil premium prevented a real-terms cut in the value of the per pupil funding, according to the IFS.  

EU migration

“If we stay in the European Union there will be 3 million more migrants by the year 2030”—Christopher Chope MP

“Can he tell us further to [Christopher Chope’s question] why the OBR project immigration to be above 200,000 a year for the rest of this decade?”—Dr Liam Fox MP

It’s correct that the population is projected to increase by three million due to net migration by 2030. These projections come from the Office for National Statistics, but are used by the Office for Budget Responsibility and the Treasury in their economic analyses.

Net migration—the difference between the number of people coming to live in the country and the number of people leaving—will not fall below 200,000 a year until 2019/20, according to these forecasts. At the moment, it’s over 300,000 a year.

The government’s target is to get that down to the ten of thousands.

The free movement of people that comes with EU membership may make this harder, but net migration from outside the EU has always been higher than from within the EU. So net migration from other EU countries isn’t the only reason the government hasn’t met its target.

Housing

“Since 2010, 101,000 homes have been built in London, including 67,000 affordable homes”—David Cameron

That’s about right. Whether or not these homes are what most people would describe as “affordable” has been a contentious subject.

Over 67,000 affordable homes were built or acquired in London between 2010/11 and 2014/15. Around 90,000 homes were built in the capital over the same period, and adding in homes built in the last three quarters of 2015 brings the number of completed properties to over 109,000.

“Affordable homes” aren’t the same as traditional social housing such as council flats.

The 67,000 built since 2010 includes those for social rent (homes made available by councils or housing associations to people on low incomes), affordable rent (homes let by a registered provider where rent is set at a maximum of 80% of the local market rate) and affordable home ownership.

The average rent in London for a one bedroom flat is £1,200 per month, which would make the monthly rent for a similar property up to £960 under an affordable rent scheme. New affordable rent schemes in England outnumbered social rents by 4 to 1 in 2014/15.

Nearly a quarter of all affordable homes built nationwide last year were sold under a home ownership scheme. In London, buyers purchasing properties worth up to £600,000 are eligible for help under one of these schemes.

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