Department for Education

Part of Estimates Day – in the House of Commons at 2:53 pm on 3rd July 2018.

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Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Chair, Education Committee 2:53 pm, 3rd July 2018

While I accept that funding is much higher than it was in 2010—no doubt the Minister for School Standards will set that out—I also agree that there are increasing cost pressures, but I will make that argument in a moment.

I am full of admiration for my right hon. Friend the Health Secretary, who has successfully made the case for a longer-term vision for health and social care. I am convinced that his longevity has been a significant contributing factor and can only regret the fact that we have had a higher turnover in Education Secretaries in recent years. However, I am sure that my right hon. Friend Damian Hinds will, given the opportunity, prove to be an advocate for the public services that his Department oversees and funds.

Without wanting to stretch the scope of the debate too far, I would like to talk a little about the financial health of the school system, of nurseries and of further education and skills. While all the evidence tells us that over the long term, in comparison with relevant international comparators, schools in England are relatively well funded, it is unarguably the case that rising cost pressures have not been matched by the sort of investment that would allow them to be met without impacting upon the quality and delivery of education in our schools. My right hon. Friend Justine Greening was absolutely right last autumn to redirect £1.3 billion of public funds from her own Department’s budget to the frontline and raise the so-called floor in the national funding formula.