GOVERNMENT STILL DRAGGING ITS HEELS ON FAIRER FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS SAYS LUFF
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GOVERNMENT STILL DRAGGING ITS HEELS ON FAIRER FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS SAYS LUFF

The government is still refusing to publish its consultation on fairer funding for schools that had been expected in January.
Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff warned that this delay would further harm hard-pressed schools in Worcestershire and called on the government to “get its finger out and stop hiding behind the word “shortly” to describe when the consultation would begin”.

The MP added,

“Ed Balls has been using the word “shortly” for weeks now to describe his intentions and it’s time he acted.”

He was reacting to a letter from Schools Secretary Ed Balls who wrote to Peter this week after a pledge from the leader of the House of Commons, Harriet Harman, to investigate the delay.

In his letter, Ed Balls wrote,

“For the last 18 months, up to July 2009, the Formula Review Group was gathering evidence on the main issues. Since July we have been developing options and we have always said that we intend to consult early in the New Year. This remains the case and we expect to launch the consultation shortly.”

But Mr Balls’ letter reached Peter Luff on the same day as the group of worst funded education authorities, the F40, wrote to the Schools Secretary to say,

“Statements from Government sources constantly refer to something happening ‘shortly’. But nothing is happening and we are beginning to get extremely frustrated and disappointed.

“We would very much appreciate an announcement one way or the other as soon as possible, or alternatively a commitment to a date on which the Government is going to commence the consultation.”

They go on,

“It is our view that the combined pressure of all of the changes and proposals in the system is putting intolerable strain on our schools and staff, and local authorities have no wriggle room to mitigate the impact.”

Peter commented,

“I am reluctant to believe that there is a political agenda behind this unacceptable delay – but I can think of no other reason.

“It’s not rocket science – over the last thirteen years when education budgets have risen - it would have been easy to give the best funded areas like Birmingham slightly smaller increases and badly funded areas like Worcestershire slightly larger ones. Over a few years the gap would have been closed.

“Addressing the gross unfairness that has now been created will be more challenging at a time of a crisis in the public finances, but a road map to fairness must be set out as soon as possible. The delay in doing so is beginning to look plain spiteful.”

ENDS


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