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Ministerial Corrections

Volume 738: debated on Wednesday 25 October 2023

Ministerial Corrections

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Education

The following are extracts from Education questions on 23 October 2023.

Students: Cost of Living

What steps she is taking to help support students with the cost of living. [906624]

This year and last year, the Government have provided £94 billion of cost of living support in England. In education, more than a third of children get free school meals. University tuition fees have been frozen and we have provided £276 million of student premium to help the most disadvantaged students.

[Official Report, 23 October 2023, Vol. 738, c. 571.]

Letter of correction from the Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, the right hon. Member for Harlow (Robert Halfon):

Errors have been identified in my response to the hon. Members for Canterbury (Rosie Duffield) and for Nottingham South (Lilian Greenwood). The correct response should have been:

This year and last year, the Government have provided £94 billion of cost of living support. In schools, more than a third of children get free school meals. University tuition fees have been frozen and we have provided £276 million of student premium to help the most disadvantaged students.

While the cost of food, heating and rent has rocketed, the value of the student maintenance loan has fallen by £1,500 in real terms since 2020-21. Recent research by the University of Nottingham Students’ Union revealed that the cost of living crisis is affecting students’ education, and their physical and mental health. It found that almost one in 10 students had a weekly budget of £20 or less after rent, and one in five had a weekly budget of £20 or less after rent and bills. Thirty-seven per cent had considered leaving university because of the difficulties they faced paying for essentials. Does the Minister think that these are acceptable conditions for students to be struggling under?

It is precisely because of the figures the hon. Lady sets out that we are helping students, with £276 million to try to ensure we help the most disadvantaged students. Her own university—she mentioned Nottingham University—gives a £1,000 bursary to disadvantaged students. We are also giving up to £90 billion of extra help to disadvantaged families, we have frozen tuition fees and we look at loan repayments if family incomes fall below 15%, so we are doing everything possible to support the most disadvantaged to get higher education.

[Official Report, 23 October 2023, Vol. 738, c. 572.]

Letter of correction from the Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, the right hon. Member for Harlow (Robert Halfon):

Errors have been identified in my response to the hon. Member for Nottingham South (Lilian Greenwood). The correct response should have been:

It is precisely because of the figures the hon. Lady sets out that we are helping students, with £276 million to try to ensure we help the most disadvantaged students. Her own university—she mentioned Nottingham University—gives a £1,000 bursary to disadvantaged students. We are also giving up to £90 billion of extra help to disadvantaged families, we have frozen tuition fees and we look at maintenance loan repayments if family incomes fall by at least 15%, so we are doing everything possible to support the most disadvantaged to get higher education.

SEND Provision

The SEND crisis extends to Devon, and my postbag is full of correspondence from parents trying to get their children the educational provision they need. It has got so bad that in some cases children are being taught in school cupboards, and Devon has appointed a SEND champion to its cabinet. What steps is the Department taking to help boost SEND services in rural areas such as mine?

There has been a 30% increase in the per-head funding to schools in Devon for their special educational needs provision, and the whole thrust of our reform plan is to make the system work better for parents and families and get the support for their children at the stage when they need it.

[Official Report, 23 October 2023, Vol. 738, c. 577.]

Letter of correction from the Under-Secretary of State for Education, the hon. Member for Wantage (David Johnston).

An error has been identified in my response to the hon. Member for Tiverton and Honiton (Richard Foord). The correct response should have been:

There has been a 30% increase in the per-head funding to schools in Devon for their special educational needs provision between 2021-22 and 2024-25, and the whole thrust of our reform plan is to make the system work better for parents and families and get the support for their children at the stage when they need it.

“Lose, lose, lose”, costing a “fortune” and not providing “the right service”. Those are not my words but those of the Secretary of State describing the SEND system over which her Government have been presiding for the last 13 years. Will the Minister tell the House when he expects the plans that the Government have announced for SEND to make a difference to the long waiting times and lack of support experienced by so many families across the country?

We have already begun the reform programme and have just launched the nine SEND change partnerships, which are already starting to make a difference to the provision. I would just say to the hon. Lady that this is yet another area where the Labour party has absolutely no policies whatsoever.

[Official Report, 23 October 2023, Vol. 738, c. 577.]

Letter of correction from the Under-Secretary of State for Education, the hon. Member for Wantage (David Johnston).

An error has been identified in my response to the hon. Member for Dulwich and West Norwood (Helen Hayes) during Education questions. The correct response should have been:

We have already begun the reform programme and have just launched the nine SEND change partnerships, which will soon start to make a difference to the provision. I would just say to the hon. Lady that this is yet another area where the Labour party has absolutely no policies whatsoever.

Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Towns Fund: Project Delivery

The following is an extract from Levelling Up, Housing and Communities questions on 16 October 2023.

We are supporting 101 towns through our £6.1 billion towns fund, helping to level up across the country. I thank my hon. Friend for all his efforts locally in ensuring that the £25 million Dewsbury town deal delivers the positive outcomes that we all wish to see for his constituents.

[Official Report, 16 October 2023, Vol. 738, c. 9.]

Letter of correction from the Under-Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the hon. Member for Redcar (Jacob Young):

An error has been identified in the response to my hon. Friend the Member for Dewsbury (Mark Eastwood). The correct response should have been:

We are supporting 101 towns through our £3.6 billion towns fund, helping to level up across the country. I thank my hon. Friend for all his efforts locally in ensuring that the £25 million Dewsbury town deal delivers the positive outcomes that we all wish to see for his constituents.