West Sussex Conservative MPs lobbied hard for fair schools funding, and it was great news that at the end of last year the Chancellor announced that there will be a National Funding Formula from 2017 to phase out the arbitrary and unfair school funding system.
West Sussex receives the lowest funding for schools of any county and is the fourth lowest funded local authority nationally. The ten best funded areas receive an average of £6,297 per pupil per year, compared with an average of £4,208 in the ten worst funded areas, including West Sussex - a gap which grew under the Labour government.
This week the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, published proposals for consultation to start the process of introducing the national funding formula from 2017 to 2018.
The Chancellor has protected the national schools budget, and West Sussex has already received an interim payment of an extra £1 million a year ahead of the National Funding Formula, but we need to go much further than this to put our schools on an equal footing with those in other counties.
West Sussex MPs will continue to work with our local head teachers and West Sussex County Council to ensure that our schools get a fair deal as soon as possible.
MPs have also teamed up to press for a parliamentary debate on the lamentable state of our local rail service. Jeremy Quin, MP for Horsham, will be introducing a debate in Westminster Hall next Wednesday at 2.30pm on “the performance of Govia Thameslink Railway and Network Rail”.
I will be speaking as well, and a Minister will reply. I will be focusing on the rail industry’s failure to meet even the modest targets for improvement set in their own performance improvement plan a year ago, and I will be demanding accountability.
Many constituents have already contacted me about the service, and I would be glad to receive any further feedback ahead of next Wednesday’s debate.
Big political issues are in the news, including of course the EU referendum, and the Chancellor will present his Budget on Wednesday.
But as well as engaging in these major issues, West Sussex Conservative MPs are continuing to work hard to ensure that local concerns, such as over fair schools funding and our rail service, are addressed.