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Speech on Education funding to Cabinet meeting of Devon County Council  on 11th January 2017 (discussing proposal to transfer £2.22 million from the Individual Schools Budgets to the Higher Needs budget, leading to a reduction of £33 per pupil in the Age Weighted Pupil Unit)

 

As I think many here would agree, what this represents is a failure of central government to properly fund education.  It is significant that at the same time as the publication of the proposed National Funding Formula the National Audit Office predicted that by 2020 schools overall would suffer an 8% cut in funding in real terms.

When fully implemented the NFF would bring an overall gain for Devon of just 0.38%, with many schools losing out.  The small gain won’t even cover the new 0.5% apprenticeship levy.  In Exeter the NFF by itself would bring a slight overall loss.

So much hope has been placed in so-called fair funding, especially for counties like Devon significantly below the national average - £270 per pupil less than the national average.  The DfE press release states that the NFF will tackle the historical postcode lottery in school funding ensuring that every child is fairly funded according to their specific needs, claiming that this ‘sits at the heart of the government’s pledge to build a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few’.

This government has instead failed to properly fund education on a fair basis and in particular to meet the needs of pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, and it has failed Devon schools.

It is alarming that Devon is having to go against its own schools in making this transfer and that the position is unlikely to improve in the future whilst the ability to make such an adjustment is not going to be available henceforth.

Once again a Conservative government underfunds a public service and this county, like others, ends up having to suffer the consequences.

I applaud the letter-writing campaign the council is leading to get MPs to put pressure on the government.  Ultimately, though, local Conservative MPs need to vote against the government to get it to reconsider.  Will they?  I doubt it.

 

Andy Hannan, Labour County Councillor for Priory & St Leonard’s, Exeter 

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Cllr Andy Hannan's Speech on Education

Speech on Education funding to Cabinet meeting of Devon County Council  on 11th January 2017 (discussing proposal to transfer £2.22 million from the Individual Schools Budgets to the Higher Needs...

Dressed in red, Exeter Labour Women joined hundreds of people from all over Devon on Saturday, 3 December, to raise public awareness about the proposed cuts to NHS services.   Converging in long red lines from all corners of the city, our banners, leaflets and chants were viewed by festive shoppers whose faces turned from amused to alarmed as they began to realise why we were there. 

Barbara, from Exeter, stopped to listen to speakers in Bedford Square instead of buying presents for her family.  As hundreds chanted “What do we want?  NHS!  When do we want it?  Always!” and, “Say it loud, say it clear, NHS in place of fear!”  Barbara said, “I believe if we don’t stand together and we’re not vociferous the NHS will be dismantled.  Everyone is so caught up with their own lives, they don’t realise this is happening.  They read about a cut to this and a privatisation.  What’s happening across the country is a deliberate Tory ploy to defund the NHS until there’s nothing left.  In a few years time it’ll be if you can’t pay go away.”

Lucy, from rural Devon, said, “I had to be here.  I was born in the NHS.  My father was a doctor and helped to set it up.  I was raised in the NHS and I don’t want to die without it.”

James, one of the Save our Hospital Services organisers from Bideford said, “One pound in three is going to be cut from the NHS budget in Devon over the next 5 years.”  They are starting with community hospital beds but they’re not stopping there.  “County Councillors can refuse to sign off on this plan.  It’s not been legally tested, but these cuts could sit in a legal limbo for a time.  MPs can work to ensure there is proper funding for the NHS and make sure things things are thought through properly.  There are many things in the STP (Sustainability and Transformation Plan) that are quite sensible if they were properly funded and given time to be implemented.  It’s pushing them through fast and without the funds that’s the problem,” he said.

  More details of the first phase of the STP proposal here http://www.newdevonccg.nhs.uk/abo.../your-future-care/102019

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Exeter Labour Women join others to Defend our NHS

Dressed in red, Exeter Labour Women joined hundreds of people from all over Devon on Saturday, 3 December, to raise public awareness about the proposed cuts to NHS services.   Converging...

Residents in St David’s were appalled at the state of the steps leading down from Queen Street, next to the Co-Op in the city centre. Cllr Luke Sills organised a clean-up morning for volunteer residents to work with Exeter City Council street cleaning staff to tidy the steps up. In just over one hour, the volunteers had accumulated several bin bags of rubbish and overgrown plants/weeds and almost filled the back of a waste disposal van! The result is fantastic, and we hope residents in the city centre can see the marked improvement in the state of these popular public steps. Owners of the Jubilee Court estate, Westwood Housing, have also promised to clean away the graffiti that remains around the steps, and to monitor more closely the maintenance of the steps and the surrounding areas. Our thanks to John and the Deep Clean Team at the City Council, and to the resident volunteers who gave up their morning to help. Let’s hope our community keep the stairs looking so pristine! 

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Cllr Luke Sills Helps with the Clean up of Queen Street steps

Residents in St David’s were appalled at the state of the steps leading down from Queen Street, next to the Co-Op in the city centre. Cllr Luke Sills organised a...

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