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Our kids future

June 3, 2021 6:51 PM
Originally published by Babergh South Suffolk Liberal Democrats

m,4c (Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash)"I do not believe it will be possible to deliver a successful recovery without significantly greater support than the government has, to date, indicated it intends to provide."

With these words Sir Kevan Collins, the education recovery commissioner, who was appointed by the government and tasked four months ago to "ensure children and young people can recover lost learning" caused by the Covid crisis, announced he had left the role. The governments proposed spend of £1.4bn or £22 per child to help catch up their education after school closures and on-line working was the catalyst for the decision

Sir Kevan was reported to have asked for ten times this sum to be allocated a figure per pupil according to BBC Newsnight, much closer to the plans announced in the US ( not normally renowned for its social spending) and the Netherlands.

Since the impact of this spend would disproportionately help the poorer in our society it is not clear how this helps the so called "levelling up" agenda. More importantly it risks long term damage to our children's futures and as a consequence our countries economic wellbeing

Liberal Democrat MP Daisy Cooper said I'm not surprised in the slightest. Sir Kevan was a good appointment and all of us were cheering him on. The Government's insulting offer of a £1bn to support a generation of young people facing lost learning was clearly too much to stomach

All very predictable you may think. Opposition parties will always finds points to complain about. But here is what senior Conservative MP Robert Halfon Chairman of the Parliamentary Education select committee had to say on Radio 4

"Of course there are funding constraints but the treasury announced over 16 billion extra for defence only last year, we've got 800 million being spent on a new research agency, 200 million being spent on a yacht. So where there is the political will, the treasury can find the money from the back of the sofa, and there has to be that political will because we need a long-term plan for education, a proper funding settlement."

Despite all the promises that those most impacted by the pandemic would be looked after by the government this is the latest example of where the words do not align with the actions. We have already had the derisory 1% pay offer to nurses, and now Home Secretary Priti Patel appears to be planning to hike visa fees for NHS and other workers from EU countries going back on her promise to scrap the immigration surcharge paid by overseas health and care workers, conceded after huge protests.

Ms Patel is exploring removing a £55 discount on application fees for citizens from 26 countries, most of which are EU members which would hit workers in the NHS and care sectors, It would also mean employers would lose their exemption from paying a £199 fee as part of their sponsorship of foreign workers.

As Robert Halfon succinctly put it, its all about political priorities!