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29th Jun, 2022

The Robin Walker Column - Worcester's MP writes for The Observer

Worcester Editorial 19th Mar, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

LAST week was one of the most important moments for me in my time as MP for Worcester.

At long last the Government announced, not only that it was consulting on fairer funding for schools but actually announced real money to deliver it.

This is something that I have been pushing for in every year of this Parliament and ever since my maiden speech.

The fairer funding campaign is not a party issue but a cross party campaign which I have had the privilege to lead in Parliament and over the years, have only grown more passionate about.

It started for me with meeting primary school heads and teachers across Worcester as a candidate, who explained what a raw deal our county got.

They showed me that even though they were delivering some fantastic results for children, they were doing it with one hand tied behind their backs and with fewer resources than teachers elsewhere.

When I started looking into it I met local school Governors like Jon Pearsall and Helen Donovan who had been campaigning on this issue for many years already.

Through them I met the f40 campaign, a cross party group representing areas across the UK to press for a fairer deal for the areas worst funded under successive Governments.

Early on in my time as an MP I was invited to join its executive and for years, was its main spokesman to Parliament.

Ironically on the very week of the announcement I had signed a joint letter with two more recent Vice chairmen of the campaign – Nic Dakin, the Labour MP for Scunthorpe and Sir Nicholas Harvey, the Liberal Democrat for North Devon, urging the Government to get on and deliver their long awaited consultation.

We pointed out that whilst they had been saying all the right things, we needed to see delivery.

The last Government recognised there was a problem, consulted on it but failed to take any action.

Delivery and action we now have, a public consultation which I urge every school in Worcestershire to take part in and more importantly £4.9 million coming to local schools next year out of a total £350 million coming to lower funded areas.

This is the first step and there should be more to follow.

With Chancellor delivering his budget this week there will be many other things I’ll be looking out for, help for small businesses to create jobs, raising further the threshold on income tax and more action on fuel duty.

More investment in infrastructure, homes and skills. One of my biggest asks however has already been answered and Worcester will be better for it.

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