22 SEP 2017

Star Column - 21st September 2017

"Brexit continued to dominate the national headlines from Parliament last week but the Education Secretary, Justine Greening, announced an increase in funding for schools. Locally, there are rises varying from 0.5% to over 18%. The big change, which I pressed for with other Suffolk MPs, is that the new formula had a higher basic percentage of funding to go to every child. This reflects that Suffolk has a very high employment rate and we have far fewer children than the national average receiving free school meals, but our household income is not as high as other places like Liverpool. I recognise the frustration locally that increases were not even higher and that Suffolk is still in the bottom quartile for funding per pupil but the teachers' unions and the Labour party campaigned to protect funding for other parts of the country which were already funded much more generously than Suffolk schools. Overall this meant less was available for Suffolk to right the historic wrongs but, we have kept our word, we have improved the funding formula for Suffolk children and we are now firmly on the up for school funding.

Suffolk MPs have been working together again to take up issues on our county's behalf. First all seven of us attended a meeting with Robert Goodwill, education minister who is taking through the new childcare policy. This was useful to set out some of the concerns that nursery and other childcare providers have shared with us, as well as hearing from the minister and officials the basis of the scheme specific to Suffolk. This was followed up with a meeting at Endeavour House. We also met senior transport officials regarding road infrastructure improvements in Suffolk, making the case for further investment on the A14 and key junctions along it.

Friday is the last chance to give your views on the controls on dogs being proposed by the council. While we all want our beaches and pavements cleaner (and thanks to those who helped in the national cleanup last weekend – I was at Aldeburgh), I think the original proposals go too far."

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