Suffolk MP in Commons plea for Suffolk

FURIOUS MP Richard Spring has told the House of Commons he is "sick to death of Suffolk being short-changed".The Conservative MP led a debate in Parliament yesterdaysparked by a shortfall in the county's funding for education.

FURIOUS MP Richard Spring has told the House of Commons he is "sick to death of Suffolk being short-changed".

The Conservative MP led a debate in Parliament yesterday

sparked by a shortfall in the county's funding for education.

Mr Spring accused the Government of "miscalculating" the real costs faced by schools and attacked Suffolk County Council for "failing to stand up and fight".

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He said the classroom crisis, on top of huge council tax rises and "poor" investment in health, meant Suffolk was suffering.

Mr Spring told MPs it was an "appallingly familiar theme" and added "I have to say, I am sick to death of Suffolk being short changed.

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"We have record council tax increases, low levels of NHS investment – Suffolk West Primary Care Trust has the lowest per capita funding in the eastern region – and now a schools crisis.

"I am left in total exasperation that Suffolk continues to be discriminated against in this way."

Mr Spring said he had visited a number of primary, middle and high schools across his West Suffolk constituency to discuss the crisis.

"After a number of frank discussions with headteachers and governors, it is clear no-one is optimistic about the future," he said.

The Tory MP said the problems will see jobs axed and staff hours reduced with schools forced to dig into their reserves to balance the books.

"My constituents will feel aggrieved when they compare Suffolk's situation to the substantially greater increases in parts of the north of England," he said.

"Of course there is a limit to the size of the national cake – all I ask for is fair treatment. This is simply not happening."

He added repeating Tony Blair's well documented pledge of "Education, Education, Education" mantra, would now be "a cruel joke" to teachers, parents and governors in Suffolk.

"They now face extremely hard and unpalatable choices. Unless these arrangements are quickly changed for next year, the consequences will be truly catastrophic," the MP said.

Mr Spring reserved his strongest criticism for Suffolk County Council for not fighting for a better deal for the county.

"I am dismayed that County Hall continues to let the people of Suffolk down by failing to fight for adequate resources for our county," he said.

"The lack of action from Suffolk County Council is the reason I have introduced this debate in the House today.

"We have had a shameful silence over council tax, the bed-blocking crisis in the county, and now education – meek acquiescence and acceptance of wholly unfair settlements from central Government."

Mr Spring said education minister David Milliband talked during the debate about introducing two-year school budgets from next year.

"That's all very well, but would it mean any more money? I think Suffolk County Council should orchestrate a campaign to get more money. If you want it, you have to fight for it."

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