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I agree entirely with my hon. Friend. The information with which he has been provided shows that Wiltshire's provisional SSA provision per head is below that of Somerset, but I understand that Wiltshire is making no cuts in its education budget. That supports the argument of the Conservative leaders on Somerset county council.
With regard to education, the SSA is up by 2.5 per cent. in Somerset compared with an average of 1.1 per cent. across the counties. It seems that Liberal Democrats do not care about children or teachers; they care only about securing political advantage by any means at their disposal.
As my hon. Friend the Minister is aware, my right hon. and hon. Friends in Somerset and I, together with the right hon. Member for Yeovil, have joined county councillors of all persuasions to press for a modernisation of the area cost adjustment formula which appears weighted against the south-west, mainly through outdated criteria.
I give the people of Somerset an assurance that we shall continue to press our case on that score. In supporting the motion tonight, I urge my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to see that the current reviews of methodology are given a sense of urgency. We met the Minister last summer about that. Progress must now be made to bring the matter to a conclusion to ensure that we do not have to return to this argument next year.