Last week it was announced that schools in Portsmouth will get nearly £3m extra a year as part of the Lib Dems’ pupil premium policy, while schools across Hampshire will get £15m. And this will quadruple by 2014/15.
The money goes to the whole school but is based on the number of disadvantaged pupils receiving free school meals.
It is shocking that disadvantaged children are three times less likely to achieve five good GCSEs than their better-off classmates. For a whole variety of reasons, their circumstances can mean that it is more difficult for them to study – not only a massive waste but we need a highly-skilled workforce to compete globally.
The pupil premium is just one policy that wouldn’t be enacted without the Lib Dems in government.
Meanwhile Labour seems to be still in denial – saying it would make cuts of virtually the same value as the government, but never saying which specific cuts they would actually make!
The fact is that if the Lib Dems and Conservatives had not come together to form a stable government, then Britain would be going the way of countries such as Portugal, Greece and Ireland.
I may be the most rebellious Lib Dem MP and I will vote against the government when I think it is wrong. But without that stable government tackling the debt, we would be wasting money on higher interest rates and higher debt and ultimately that means less on areas such as health, education and state pensions.
Nick Clegg has said he will veto abolishing the 50p top tax rate unless it is replaced with another tax on the rich such as a ‘mansion tax’ on properties worth more than £2m. In contrast, we have seen the Lib Dem policy of increasing the income tax threshold enacted – initially by £1,000 and ultimately by £3,500 – cutting tax for the low-paid.
And thanks to the Lib Dems, the link between earnings and the state pension, abolished by the Tories in the 1980s, has been restored.
While Labour sticks its head in the sand, the Lib Dems in government are ensuring more money for our schools, those on low pay and for our pensioners.