Tory Leadership hopeful Boris Johnson is the latest recruit to the campaign for fairer schools spending, pioneered by the Yorkshire Party
Yorkshire Party Leader Chris Whitwood explained: Two weeks ago, as part of the European Parliamentary Election campaign the Yorkshire Party published a leaflet. Prominently placed on the front was an infographic that highlighted the shameful disparity in education spending across the country.
“As a former primary school teacher, it appals me to see schools in London receive about £6,800 a pupil per year (in Tower Hamlets this rises to £6,965). Those in Manchester are given £5,281. Meanwhile, schools in York receive a paltry £4,163.
“This chronic underfunding results in schools being overstretched, staff pushed to breaking point and our children losing out.
“The Yorkshire Party’s campaign leaflet was delivered to almost 1.5 million households across Yorkshire, including to the homes of many Conservative Party members, councillors and MPs. It should be no surprise there that this issue was noted.
“On Monday, Mr Johnson wrote in The Telegraph that: “It is simply not sustainable that funding per pupil should be £6,800 in parts of London and £4,200 in some other parts of the country.”
“The inequality of school funding is a campaign many people, including the Yorkshire Party, have been fighting for some time. However, it is poignant that the matter is given prominent place in the launch of the former Foreign Secretary’s leadership bid so soon after it was given a prominent place in the Yorkshire Party’s European Election campaign.
“Some people question whether any political party, other than Labour or Conservative, can make a difference. Mr Johnson’s article demonstrates that we can.
“The recent local elections saw the Yorkshire Party gain district council seats from Labour and (perhaps more concerning for Mr Johnson) from the Conservatives.
“We may not have any Members of Parliament (yet) but the ambition for the Yorkshire Party to highlight the issues affecting our region and give Yorkshire a voice is evidently having an effect.
“I didn’t join the Yorkshire Party to be a protest vote. I joined because of a desire to tackle the inequality that plagues our region and a belief that we can make a difference. Ensuring fair education spending so our children are granted the opportunities they deserve is just the first step.
“Our vision is for our children to receive a world-class education, connect our region with modern and reliable transport infrastructure, address the environmental challenges that threaten us and give a voice to our communities so people across Yorkshire can participate in shaping our future.
“In short, we seek to build a stronger Yorkshire with a fairer United Kingdom. Forcing the Westminster parties to take note on this issue is a real success but we are not done yet.
“And Mr Johnson, if you’re reading, feel free to take a look at our education policy as well: www.yorkshireparty.org.uk/education.”