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House of Commons Hansard
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Petitions
07 May 2019
Volume 659

Petitions

Tuesday 7 May 2019

Observations

Education

The future of maintained nursery schools

The petition of the parents, carers and staff of Freshfield Nursery School in Heaton Mersey, Stockport.

Declares that we are concerned about the future of maintained nursery schools in England after March 2020 as no guarantee has been given by Government that adequate funding will continue when supplementary funding ends.

The petitions therefore request the House of Commons to urge the Government to take action to ensure maintained nursery schools are financially sustainable for the future.

And the petitioners remain, etc. —[Presented by Ann Coffey , Official Report, 29 March 2019; Vol. 657, c. 5P.]

[P002443]

Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education (Nadhim Zahawi):

Maintained nursery schools make a valuable and high quality contribution to supporting some of our most disadvantaged children. Many of them have specialist skills and knowledge in supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities, and many of them share this expertise with other early years providers.

In acknowledgement of the costs that maintained nursery schools experience over and above other early years providers, the Government are providing local authorities with around £60 million a year in supplementary funding, to enable them to maintain the funding of maintained nursery schools.

On 28 February, the Government announced that this arrangement would be extended from March 2020 to August 2020, to enable local authorities to maintain the funding of maintained nursery schools for the whole of the 2019-20 academic year. This means that local authorities can allocate places in maintained nursery schools for September 2019 without uncertainty over the summer term in 2020. The cost of this extension will be around £24 million.

What happens after the 2019-20 academic year will be determined by the next spending review, and informed by new research published on 28 February on the services, costs and quality of maintained nursery schools.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Gibraltar representation in the Houses of Parliament, Westminster

The petition of British Citizens of Gibraltar,

Declares that it is a fundamental right of ours to representation in the Houses of Parliament, Westminster.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to grant Gibraltar representation in the Houses of Parliament, Gibraltar.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Andrew Rosindell , Official Report, 27 February 2019; Vol. 655, c. 460 .]

[P002427]

Observations from the Minister for Europe and the Americas (Sir Alan Duncan):

We believe that the 2006 Gibraltar Constitution—which was endorsed via a referendum by the people of Gibraltar—provides for a modern, mature and appropriate relationship with the UK. Gibraltar has a vigorous parliamentary democracy with institutions based on the Westminster model, and has responsibility for almost everything apart from foreign affairs, defence, internal security and some public appointments.

In addition, the UK Government believe that adequate mechanisms already exist for the people and the Government of Gibraltar to express their views. As well as the strong relationship between UK and Gibraltar Ministers, there is the all-party parliamentary group for Gibraltar which is proactive in raising the views of Gibraltar in parliamentary debates. The Government of Gibraltar attends the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) for the Overseas Territories, which meets at least once per year and enables Ministers and representatives of Overseas Territories to register their points with the UK Government. In the context of leaving the European Union, the Government of Gibraltar also meets with the UK Government in the Joint Ministerial Council (Gibraltar EU Negotiations), which has met nine times since 2016, most recently in April 2019.

In summary, the UK Government believe that the fundamentals of our constitutional relationship are right but we remain as always open to dialogue on any proposals put forward by the Government of Gibraltar.