• NHS, Education & Police Funding

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    19 August 2019

    Our new Prime Minister has immediately targeted three key areas for additional funding and is bringing forward the next spending revenue to September so the Government can move quickly in making this funding available.

    NHS: There will be a £1.8billion cash injection for the NHS on top of the additional £33.9billion that was pledged for healthcare services last year. The new package will include £850million for 20 hospitals to upgrade outdated facilities and equipment, including intensive care wards, children’s units and mental health facilities. At the last election Labour’s manifesto promised 2.2% more per year for the NHS. Our stewardship of the economy means that we have managed to provide 50% more than that level of increase.

    EDUCATION: The PM has pledged to increase education spending by £4.6billion by 2022/23 and target this towards authorities which have historically been underfunded. Having campaigned on this issue for over a decade (stemming back to before I was elected to Parliament in 2010) I am delighted with this announcement. The background here is important – a decade ago, under the last Government, schools in Devon received nearly £500 less per pupil than the national average. The Conservatives reduced this gap to under £300, which is a step in the right direction but still leaves us underfunded. Why? There are legitimate arguments about parts of the country needing more funding than others – particularly in disadvantaged areas – but where funding calculations have been flawed in my view is that they have failed to fully consider the cost of education provision in rural counties. A large number of small schools cost more to run than a small number of large schools, many small rural schools have older buildings which are more expensive to maintain and school transport is often more expensive to subsidise. The Prime Minister has pledged to increase the minimum levels of per pupil funding from £3,500 to £4,000 in primaries and from £4,800 to £5,000 in secondaries and I will be holding his feet to the fire to ensure our schools here in Devon get their fair share.

    POLICING: The nature of crime and criminal investigations is changing. Cybercrime and online extremism, for example, are much more of a problem now than they were a generation ago. Violent crime, which is still down by two-thirds since the mid-1990s, has recently been on the rise and more victims of sexual assault and abuse have the confidence to come forward than in the past. All these factors have put pressure on our police force so the Prime Minister has announced that (1) 20,000 new police officers will be recruited over the next three years, (2) The Crown Prosecution Service will receive an extra £85m over the next two years and (3) 10,000 prison places will be created to alleviate overcrowding and keep the most serious offenders locked up for longer.

    For more from Mel follow him on twitter @MelJStride or visit