It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir David. I congratulate Andrew Ramanandi, the headteacher of St Joseph’s Primary School in Blaydon, for starting the e-petition. Without his hard work on the petition, we would not be here today discussing this very important issue. I also congratulate my hon. Friend Liz Twist on speaking so eloquently and on taking so many interventions in opening this fantastic debate.
I want to focus on how the Government’s policy of austerity in education is harming the wellbeing and life chances of my constituents in Edmonton, especially children with special educational needs. Austerity has created an £8.5 million annual funding shortfall in Edmonton. Every single school in my constituency has had its funding cut since 2015. Furthermore, Edmonton, ranked the 50th most deprived constituency in England in 2015, has suffered some of the worst cuts in funding per pupil in the country.
Since 2010, owing to pernicious funding cuts from central Government, Enfield Council has been forced to find £178 million of savings, but further cuts mean that the council has to find £18 million to draw out of essential services by 2020. That £18 million is more than Enfield’s current net spending on housing services, leisure, culture, libraries, parks and open spaces combined. In an already struggling community, the education and overall life chances of every single pupil in Edmonton is being systematically undermined by the Government.