HC Deb 13 March 2003 vol 401 cc421-2
8. Mr. Andrew Robathan (Blaby)

On what basis he calculates the national education formula spending share for (a) a child educated in Braunstone estate, Leicester and (b) a child educated in the town of Braunstone, Leicestershire on the other side of Braunstone lane. [102706]

The Minister for School Standards (Mr. David Miliband)

The calculation of funding for children in Leicester City and Leicestershire is done on the same basis. All comparable pupils attract the same level of funding from central Government. There is a basic entitlement for all children and extra funding for deprivation and additional costs.

Mr. Robathan

That does not answer the question. I should be grateful for an answer and I hope that the Minister will not witter on Goebelsesque about the fact that we believe that administrative costs in education and elsewhere could be cut by as much as 20 per cent. In the city of Leicester a child receives £3,476 in Government funding whereas a child educated in Leicestershire, such as at Winstanley high school or Kingsway primary school, just across the Braunstone lane and not half a mile away, receives only£2,932. Some 4,100 children cross the border of Braunstone lane to get a better education in Leicester. Will the Minister please explain this unfair discrepancy of £543 to parents, teachers and governors in Leicestershire who are as appalled and angered as I am by a 1 per cent. cut in real terms in education funding? Will he give a less complacent answer?

Mr. Speaker

Order. That is enough for the Minister to go on with.

Mr. Miliband

The hon. Gentleman should take some pills and sit in a dark room, to coin an old phrase. Let me give him the facts. Funding in Leicester city per pupil of £3,204 is higher than in Leicestershire, which on average is £2,835, mainly because 29 per cent. of pupils in Leicester city are on income support and in Leicestershire the figure is 9 per cent. Furthermore, the increases in spending over the past five years are instructive and the House will want to know them. Since 1997–98 in Leicestershire there has been a 36 per cent. increase in funding, worth £72million, and in Leicester city a 25 per cent. increase, worth £30 million. If the hon. Gentleman is concerned about the pupils who are living in Braunstone village or town, he should address a question to his local authority and ask how it is reflecting different needs across Leicestershire in the application of its funding formula that distributes money around the county.

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