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Worcestershire Schools

Volume 552: debated on Monday 29 October 2012

In March the Secretary of State announced our intention to introduce a national funding formula during the next spending review period. In the meantime, we are simplifying the local funding system, and I hope I was able to reassure my hon. Friend during a Westminster Hall debate last week that we are committed to introducing a national funding formula and to doing so at a pace which is manageable for all schools.

I thank the Minister for that answer. I just want some reassurances, on behalf of the parents and young people of Redditch, that finally, after 13 years of Labour failing to deal with the issue, we are going to address the national funding formula. I also wish to invite him to come to Redditch to see some of our fantastic schools, which do a very good job in difficult circumstances.

I would be delighted to visit the hon. Lady’s constituency, and I can guarantee her that, after many years of the previous Government failing to address this very unfair national funding formula, this Government will, in the next spending review period, ensure that there is a fair formula for the whole country.

I am grateful for those assurances from the Minister, and I welcome him to his place. He mentioned the next spending review period. Does the welcome extension of the minimum funding guarantee not give the Government the opportunity to move even faster and to take steps towards a fairer funding formula now?

My hon. Friend is right to say that we already need to take those first steps towards a more rational and fairer formula. We are doing exactly that by reducing the huge number of existing variables in the formulae across the country to a much smaller number. That is the first step in moving to a fairer formula for the whole country.