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School Budgets (Cornwall And Scilly Isles)

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

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10.

What recent assessment he has made of the impact of the 2003–04 budget settlement upon schools in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. [115006]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Skills
(Mr. Stephen Twigg)

The increase in education formula spending share for Cornwall for 2003–04 is 6.4 per cent., and the increase for the Isles of Scilly is 6.6 per cent. I welcome Cornwall county council's decision to pass on more than 105 per cent. of the increase in schools funding to its schools budget, resulting in an increase in the local education authority's schools budget of 8.9 per cent.

I am very grateful to the Under-Secretary for that response. When I debated this issue with the Minister for School Standards on 2 April, he accepted the fact that the LEA was passporting—indeed, more than passporting—funds to local schools. Where has all of the Department's promised money gone, and has it got its sums right? What comfort can the Under-Secretary offer to schools in my constituency and throughout Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which are having to make very difficult decisions about issuing redundancies to highly valued teachers?

I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on the work that he is doing on this issue following the debate in April. We have made it very clear that this is a shared responsibility between central Government and local government, and the Department is working with the LEA. The additional flexibilities announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State last week should assist with that process. We want to continue to work with Cornwall to ensure that the money gets to where we all want it to be—in the schools.