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Part of Debate on the Address – in the House of Commons at 12:12 pm on 16th October 2019.

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Photo of Angela Rayner Angela Rayner Shadow Secretary of State for Education 12:12 pm, 16th October 2019

My hon. Friend makes an important point. Conservative Members might laugh, but the spiralling cost of school uniforms and the problems that the poorest in our society face in dealing with that is no laughing matter. It is a matter for England and for this Government, and it is directly a matter for those Conservative Members who have shamefully done nothing about this issue. Parents across England will be listening to this debate and will recognise who is on their side.

It is the same story on home education. The Government were consulting on new legislation, but it is now nowhere to be seen. Then there is the Augar review, the flagship that has now sunk without trace. When it was published, the previous Education Secretary promised me:

“We will come forward with the conclusion of the review at the end of the year, at the spending review. That has always been the plan.”—[Official Report, 4 June 2019;
Vol. 661, c. 58.]

We have had a spending review and we have had a Queen’s Speech, but we have had no conclusion and there is apparently no plan. I can only hope that the Education Secretary will be able to tell us in the wind-up that these remain Government commitments and, if so, when the Government intend to act on them. This is particularly absurd when their legislative programme is a wish-list of Bills that have no chance of getting a majority in this House, because the Secretary of State knows full well that there would be cross-party support for some of these issues.