My Week 03/11/2016

On Wednesday this week I spoke in a parliamentary debate which West Sussex MPs called on schools funding.  We made a strong case for interim help for our schools ahead of the introduction of the National Funding Formula in 2018.

I credited the Government with announcing this major change which is intended to ensure that schools are funded on a fairer basis.  It cannot be right that West Sussex receives so much less funding per pupil than almost any other area.

Later that day we went to see the Education Secretary, Justine Greening, to press the case.

Also this week I questioned the Business Secretary, Greg Clark, when he made a Commons statement about the welcome news that Nissan will continue to invest in this country.

He said that the Government had reassured Nissan that its “objective would be to ensure we have continued access to the markets in Europe and vice versa without tariffs and bureaucratic impediments.”

This is good, but both I and Chichester’s MP, the Treasury Committee Chairman Andrew Tyrie, asked how this could be achieved if Britain leaves the Customs Union.

No customs are levied on goods travelling within the customs union, so it reduces barriers to business.

It is not necessarily the case that we need to leave the Customs Union when we leave the EU.  So we need to weigh up the costs and benefits of doing so.  This is a good example of the debate we need to be having about how a sensible Brexit is achieved.

On Friday morning I will be attending the AGM for the South and Mid Sussex NSPCC at Arundel Castle before going to meet the Headteacher and Chair of the Governors of Steyning Grammar School to discuss issues such as schools funding.

I will then meet the Chief Executive of the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Worthing and St Richard’s Hospitals, to discuss local NHS issues.

After that I will attend a meeting of the Trustees and Patrons of the Mary How Trust, the local charity which does such great work in providing screening services for cancer.

In the evening I will be speaking to the Executive Council of the Arundel & South Downs Conservative Association in Pulborough.

I last spoke to them the day after the EU referendum, since when we have had a change of Prime Minister.  What a difference a day can make in politics, as we will no doubt see when the US goes to the polls on Tuesday.

Nick Herbert