• Government withdraws all funding for book-gifting programmes – The Guardian, 21 Dec 2010
  • Michael Gove dubbed ‘Scrooge’ amid partial u-turn over free books scheme – The Guardian, 26 Dec 2010

Days before Christmas 2010, without prior consultation, the Department for Education announced it was cutting all funding to the book-gifting scheme Bookstart.

A spokesman for Michael Gove said:

“We believe that homes should be places that inspire a love of books and reading… [Yet] in these difficult economic times, ministers have to take tough decisions on spending. We hope that book gifting schemes will continue to benefit from support from UK publishers.”

Five days later, following an outraged reaction from the literary community and public opinion in general, the DfE have backed down:

“The DfE will continue to fund Booktrust book-gifting programmes in the future. 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… that we can make every possible saving in developing an enhanced programme.”

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