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Orders of the Day — Local Government Finance

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:59 pm on 1st February 1995.

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Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Spokesperson (Education) 6:59 pm, 1st February 1995

The Secretary of State is repeating interventions that have already been made, to which I have promised to respond. He is taking up precious time. He knows that, because of the unfairness of the area cost adjustment, all the LEAs in the south-west are placed at a considerable disadvantage. On average, they have £130 per pupil less to spend in the classroom.

I said that I would reply to some specific points. Some hon. Members spoke about Somerset. Based on information provided by the Department for Education, in real terms the SSA per primary pupil in Somerset will be cut by £46. The cut for secondary pupils will be £147. The overall shortfall for the Somerset budget as calculated by the county treasurer is £20.4 million, of which £12.4 million is in the education budget generally and £9 million is in the schools budget in particular.

Although a number of Conservative councillors in Somerset initially disagreed, I understand that they have now accepted those figures from the county treasurer. The Devon figures show a cut of £46 per primary pupil and £178 per secondary pupil in real terms in the SSA in this settlement.