labour's laura smith - schools funding

Crewe & Nantwich Labour candidate Laura Smith has hit back after Edward Timpson claimed success in the Cheshire East schools funding campaign.

Theresa May announced in her Tory Party manifesto that no school would have its budget cut under any new National Funding Formula.

It comes after Ms Smith spearheaded a vociferous local protest against the NFF, before she was selected as Labour constituency candidate.

She led public demonstrations in Nantwich and Sandbach after it emerged a proposed NFF could leave Crewe and Nantwich schools facing a 3% cut.

But after the Tory manifesto launch yesterday, Mr Timpson declared: “I am delighted my campaign to convince the Education Secretary and the Prime Minister that school funding in Cheshire East needed to be fairer has been a success.

“Not only has it been a success in Cheshire East, but it has been a success across the country, ensuring no school has its budget cut as a result of any new funding formula. An extra £4 billion will also be given to schools.

Timpson and Cameron in Nantwich“I would like to congratulate Theresa May for listening to my concerns and those of the other Cheshire Conservative MPs who campaigned with me.

“It shows that quiet, calm, concerted lobbying yields real results for local residents.”

But Ms Smith said it was “laughable” that the Conservative candidate should try to claim the success.

She said: “Only last month, Edward Timpson was busy writing to children and parents in Crewe and Nantwich, stating “there are no budget cuts”. Is this his ‘proud battle’?

“It is no wonder the Public Accounts Committee concluded in their recent report that the Department for Education ‘does not seem to understand the pressures that schools are under’.”

She also hit back at the Tory party pledge to invest £4 billion in schools.

“They are actually only promising £1 billion per year, which is simply not enough,” she added.

“Schools face £3 billion in real-terms cuts by 2020.

“Voters won’t forget that the Conservatives went into the last election promising to protect funding for our schools in real terms.

“The fact that hundreds of parents and grandparents have since had to protest over schools funding just goes to show that the Conservatives cannot be trusted with our schools.

“If any campaign has been a success, it is their Fair Funding Campaign.”

Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said: “The pledge that no schools will actually have cash taken away from them will do nothing to protect them against inflation and higher costs.

“For many head teachers and parents these proposals will cause great anxiety and despair.

“No school is sitting on a pot of gold and that all schools need substantial additional funding to ensure that every child has a well-balanced and well-resourced education, in a school building that is fit for purpose and with the funds to employ sufficient teachers and school staff.”

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