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Volume 514: debated on Wednesday 21 July 2010

Q9. My county of Herefordshire has below-average household income, but our schools are the third worst funded in the country. Does the Deputy Prime Minister share my view that it is time to rebalance public funding and give a fairer deal to our rural areas? (9856)

I certainly agree that just because poverty in rural areas is sometimes more invisible than more visible poverty in some of our inner-city areas, it does not mean that we should not make real efforts to address it. It is a matter of concern that under the previous Government a child from a poor family in an inner city area tended to get much more money allocated to their education than a child from a poor family in a rural area. That is why we are so determined to introduce a pupil premium that will provide extra resources to children from the most deprived backgrounds no matter where they live in our country.

Before I call the Foreign Secretary to give a statement, I appeal to hon. and right hon. Members whose lungs are probably exhausted now anyway to leave the Chamber quickly and quietly so that the House can hear the Foreign Secretary.