Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Funding

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 12th February 2019.

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Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable Leader of the Liberal Democrats 2:30 pm, 12th February 2019

My hon. Friend is right; that is one of many anomalies. Many such issues were not properly accounted for and are not being fully funded. I will come to others in a moment.

The consequence of the growing demand is that many local authorities, which are genuinely trying to do their best in most cases, are accumulating large financial deficits. The Local Government Association, which has done lots of research on it, believes that there will be a gap of about £1.6 billion at the end of the next financial year. That is unaccounted for at present.

Some London authorities—I speak as a London MP, but I know that other parts of the country have similar problems—have a shortfall from the high needs block of about 7%. For about six boroughs in London, it is more than 10%. For my borough, Richmond, it is 20%, and I think three others are in an even worse position, including the borough of my right hon. Friend Sir Edward Davey. For his borough, I think it is 40%.