A few days before Christmas, the Government announced it was removing funding for Booktrust, a charity which gives free books to children.
This resulted in an outcry from everyone who understands the social, cultural and economic value of reading. Former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion warned of “an act of gross cultural vandalism” whilst children’s author Philip Pullman told BBC News that it would be an “unforgivable disgrace” if the charity could not continue.
The Government is now reported to have performed a U-Turn. Talking to the BBC, Viv Bird, chief executive of Booktrust, says that she will be meeting with Education Secretary Michael Gove in the New Year to discuss funding. However she refused to state categorically whether she had received an assurance that the charity would continue to receive the full level of state support as previously.
Michael Gove wrote an article for today’s Daily Telegraph in which he stressed the importance of raising education standards in the UK. Instilling children with a love of reading must surely be the first step to achieving this aim.
We all know and understand the need for the Government to reduce the national deficit. But whilst taxpayers money continues to be wasted on bureaucracy and pointless schemes of dubious merit, it would be nothing short of a scandal if the very youngest members of society, who quite coincidentally of course cannot vote, are forced to pay the price of our previous profligacy.