See link for photo.
I was delighted to welcome the announcement this week of an additional £1.3 billion for school funding over the next two years. This is a real boost to the core schools budget which will deliver the biggest improvement to the school funding system for well over a decade.
The additional funding to the fairer schools funding will mean an increase in the basic amount that every pupil will get, protected funding for those with high needs and will ensure every local authority is in a position to give schools a cash increase through the new formula. This means that, working with teachers and schools across the country, we can continue to raise standards and give every child the best possible education, and the best opportunities for their future.
Swindon’s schools have been particularly badly affected by Labour’s unfair funding formula and, prior to the announcement this week, myself and Robert Buckland MP had managed to secure more than £4.3million worth of transitional funding for the town’s schools as part of our fairer funding campaign. There is still more work to be done but it is great news that there will be another boost to our long-running school’s funding campaign.
Elsewhere I have thrown my support behind the Ivory Surrender campaign by IFAW – the International Fund for Animal Welfare – to help protect elephants from any further slaughter for the illegal ivory trade.
Tackling illegal poaching and ending the ivory trade are matters I take very seriously and I have actively campaigned on in Parliament since I was first elected.
With elephant populations at an all-time low and the species facing extinction due to the ivory poaching crisis which is killing at least 20,000 elephants each year, I am very pleased to support this important IFAW initiative which enables members of the public to make a real difference for elephants and their future chances of survival.
I would encourage any of my constituents who have unwanted ivory to support IFAW’s ivory surrender which will help ensure that ivory is only valued on a live, wild elephant, where it belongs.
I was very proud to see this week that Swindon had been ranked fifth in the UK Cities Financial Powerhouse league table, beating cities including Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Bristol. This is down to our Growth Value Added (GVA) increasing by £51 million between 2012 and 2015 – a staggering increase of 27 per cent in just three years. Not bad considering we aren’t even a city!
Finally, I was able to attend Switch on to Swindon’s latest event this week at Dick Lovett’s BMW garage.
Switch on to Swindon is described as a co-ordinated effort to let the rest of the country know what Swindon has to offer. And Swindon has lots to offer, as the powerhouse report demonstrates.
We also have good quality, affordable housing; we enjoy a fantastic location; we have a proud industrial heritage and we have lots of welcoming communities. The list could go on.
So far Switch on to Swindon have signed up a number of local ambassadors and supporters within the local area as well as created some impressive marketing material and branding.
But they know need to focus on going to every corner of the country to spread the word and tell everybody what a fantastic place Swindon is to live and work in.