Judith Bunting at Park House School, Newbury, during
the recent election campaign. With Ian Millar, Head of Physics.
This week West Berkshire Council announced plans for financial “task forces” to be sent into the district’s struggling schools to help heads manage their budgets. They are also threatening to charge any school that requires ‘the task force intervention’.
Judith Bunting, Parliamentary Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats in Newbury, said: “This is another shockingly negative move from the Conservatives on West Berkshire Council. They present this issue as if our schools are failing, In reality, the actions of West Berkshire Council and the Conservative Government mean that many local schools have not only suffered significant cuts to their funding, but at the same time are being expected to provide more services around children’s mental health and other matters.”
Judith continued, “West Berkshire Council should be glad to help schools doing their best to keep up standards of education under such onslaught, not chastise them and then charge them for the privilege.”
This week, Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Layla Moran told national press about the hypocrisy surrounding Justine Greening’s announcement £1.3bn of additional funding for schools. In reality, she said, this ‘additional funding’ will come from “efficiencies” from within the education budget:
“This is a desperate attempt to pull the wool over people’s eyes. Instead of providing the £4bn of extra funding promised in their manifesto, the Conservatives are recycling cash from the education budget. It is robbing Peter to pay Paul. Schools are still facing cuts to their budgets once inflation and increasing class sizes are taken into account.
“Children only get one go at education. We need to invest more in our schools to ensure that no child is left behind.”
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Final results in the 2017 County Council elections show that Labour have lost 382 Council seats across the UK, and lost control of 7 out of 16 Councils that they held (see BBC: Local elections 2017: The results mapped).
Whether the cause is Tory gerrymandering or Corbyn’s performance, it is impossible to say, but an opposition party would expect make gains in local government elections.
Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said in response:
“These results tell a clear and stark message. Labour has collapsed. They cannot win the General Election.
If you want a strong opposition to this government, we are the party for you.
A strong opposition can change Britain’s future. A strong opposition to stand up to Theresa May’s divisive Brexit plans that will cost jobs and put up prices. A strong opposition to keep us in the Single Market. A strong opposition to rescue the NHS from Conservative neglect. A strong opposition to stop Theresa May cutting schools to the bone. A strong opposition to fight for you and your community.
Labour has failed as an opposition and handed Theresa May a blank cheque to do as she pleases. The voters have delivered their verdict on Jeremy Corbyn.
The Liberal Democrats are the only party that can challenge Theresa May. We will be the strong opposition that will stand up for you.”
Commenting on the results Judith Bunting, the Newbury constituency Liberal Democrat general election candidate, said: “With a nationwide vote share of 18%, things are looking good for Liberal Democrats across the UK. In the South East, Liberal Democrats won new Council seats in Oxfordshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight”.
To join the fight for Newbury constituency, get involved here! #ItsGotToBeJudith