Antoinette Sandbach urges Government to provide extra funding for schools across Cheshire

During the Education and Local Services debate in response to the Queen's Speech, Antoinette urged the Government to target extra funding at areas such as Cheshire in order to allow pupils to get the same access to funding as their counterparts across the country.

The full text of her speech can be found below:

"It is a pleasure to be in the Chamber and to hear so many eloquent, powerful maiden speeches. I particularly congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Ochil and South Perthshire (Luke Graham), who clearly showed that he will be a powerful advocate for his constituents in this Parliament.​

It is a tremendous honour to have been re-elected by the people of Eddisbury to continue representing our area’s best interests in Parliament. During the campaign, my constituents were concerned about questions of school funding and of our economic prosperity in light of our changing relationship with the EU.

Since first being elected in 2015, I have campaigned tirelessly for fairer school funding settlements for both my local authorities, which are members of the f40 group of the country’s 40 worst-funded councils. I was optimistic that the Government would finally address a source of deep unfairness to pupils in my constituency that has been entrenched for 30 years. Unfortunately, the published formula is not sufficient to address that historical unfairness. I am encouraged by our manifesto commitment to boost schools funding by £4 billion by 2022, and I urge the Government to target that extra funding at areas such as Cheshire, which are undoubtedly underfunded, and to ensure that pupils funded at the very lowest levels in the country receive a fairer funding settlement that brings them in line with those funded at far higher levels.

My teachers are used to delivering more for less, as they have been doing it for the past 30 years. I urge the Government to realise that now is the time to reduce that historical unfairness. It cannot be said enough that investment in education is imperative. The wider benefits for the individual and for society of providing a world-class education system are innumerable, and necessary if we are to equip our young people with the skills and knowledge to work in a global world.

It must be stressed that, to manoeuvre ourselves into a position in which we can properly fund our schools and other public services, we must achieve a well structured, well thought out and orderly exit from the European Union. In that regard, transitional arrangements are imperative and would reduce the economic turbulence that arises from falling off the cliff edge of EU membership.

Last year’s vote to leave the EU can be analysed in a number of ways, but the Chancellor is right to say that the British people did not vote to make themselves poorer, which is why our economic interests must be at the heart of our approach to the negotiations. We need a strong economy in order to invest in education, other local services and our NHS, and to maintain fiscal responsibility. If we are to fall into World Trade Organisation rules, we are very likely to see extremely difficult economic circumstances. Even if we manage to secure a free trade agreement within the two-year period ahead, we risk major shocks to the economy if we do not negotiate an appropriate transitional arrangement.

The importance of providing certainty to business was rightly mentioned in the Queen’s Speech. Whether it be access to markets across the EU, having confidence to invest or the ability to recruit skilled workers, giving business more time to prepare for the significant shift in the economic landscape will give greater stability. It will allow us to retain a close relationship with Europe, with frictionless trade, while we seek to find those new trade deals that others are so optimistic will appear."

To see Antoinette’s speech in full please go to: http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/432847ea-d55c-426f-98c5-c81aed753d08?in=16:29:56&out=16:34:13