A Progressive Conservative government would give each classroom teacher in New Brunswick's school system $250 a year to spend on teaching supplies, party leader David Alward announced Sunday.

school-supplies

Under a Conservative election pledge, New Brunswick school teachers would receive $250 a year for supplies. supplies. ((CBC))

Alward said in a statement that the new Teaching Supplies Fund would be given retroactively for the 2010-11 school year if he is elected premier Sept. 27. 

Alward said the policy, part of his election platform, would particularly benefit beginning teachers who are struggling with student loans while trying to properly equip their new classrooms for the first time.

He also said a Tory government would raise funding for back-to school supplies for families on social assistance to $100 a student from $50.

Alward said the entire program would cost up to $1.5 million a year, which would come from cutting back on government waste.

Tories making promises they can't afford: NDP

The New Democratic Party responded to the announcement by saying the Tories are ignoring New Brunswick's financial situation.

"It's money we don't have," Tony Myatt, the NDP finance critic, told CBC News. "Realistically, he has to say what he's going to cut."

Myatt said that despite the Conservatives' promise to cut some planned tax cuts for business and high-income earners, Alward's party is still bringing forward other tax cuts while making election promises such as free ferry service to Grand Manan, new MRIs, the continued operation of the NB Power generating station in Dalhousie and the teaching supplies fund. 

All of the promises except the generating station idea are good in principle, but irresponsible when weighed against a debt forecast to reach $9.5 billion next year, Myatt said.

"The NDP is in favour of free this and free that in principle, but we can't afford free this and free that," he said.

Liberal Leader Shawn Graham is seeking a second term for his government in the Sept. 27 provincial election, in what is anticipated to be a tight race with the Opposition Conservatives.