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Bridget_Phillipson_MP_PAC_Capital_Funding_for_Schools_13-03-2017.pngIt’s been a huge privilege to have served on the cross-party Public Accounts Committee (PAC) since 2015. This influential Committee makes sure every penny of your taxes is well spent.

This week the Committee has been working flat out to make sure all our reports are published before Parliament dissolves for the General Election on 8 June.

One such report concerns the inquiry we held into capital funding for schools last month, when the Committee heard evidence from the former and acting Headteachers of Hetton School.

They told us that delays to the Priority Schools Building Programme led to children being hosed down when suspected asbestos dust fell from their crumbling old building.

After hearing this shocking story, I raised serious concerns that the government was allocating more money to build free schools at a time when existing schools are falling into disrepair.

The government itself estimates that £7billion is needed to bring the existing school estate up to a satisfactory standard, and a further £7billion to bring them up to good condition.

This week’s PAC report echoes my concerns and condemns the government’s free schools policy as incoherent and poor value for money.

It said the government is spending well over the odds in its bid to create 500 more free schools, many of which are also in inadequate premises and without on-site playgrounds or sports facilities.

In short, it’s clear that the government is failing our children.

420,000 new school places are needed by 2021 to cater for the growing school-age population, but ministers have completely failed to provide places where they are needed.

Instead, they’ve wasted billions of pounds in the rush to build new free schools where there is no need. Developers can see them coming, so prices for new school sites are going up as a result.

Schools are already under significant financial pressure due to government demands for £3billion of savings by 2020. Figures compiled by the National Union of Teachers show that every primary and secondary school in my area will lose money, and every school will lose teachers.

I’ve warned time and again that these demands risk plunging schools into an NHS-style funding crisis – schools are already so short of cash they’ve had to send out begging letters to parents. Ministers simply won’t listen.

The government’s record on education is clear: less choice, less funding, fewer teachers, and a crumbling schools estate.

Our children deserve better. They need a Labour government.

This article was first published in the Sunderland Echo on 27 April 2017. You can read the original version here.

Bridget Phillipson MP: Our children deserve better than this Tory government

It’s been a huge privilege to have served on the cross-party Public Accounts Committee (PAC) since 2015. This influential Committee makes sure every penny of your taxes is well spent....

Bridget_Phillipson.jpgIt is a huge privilege to serve the people of Houghton and Sunderland South.

Less than two years ago, local people put their trust in me once again.

I'm from this community and I'm passionate about fighting for our interests.

That's why I will be asking  voters to let me continue working hard on the issues that matter to all of us - protecting jobs, our NHS, and tackling anti-social behaviour.

Statement by Bridget Phillipson regarding the snap General Election on 8 June

It is a huge privilege to serve the people of Houghton and Sunderland South. Less than two years ago, local people put their trust in me once again. I'm from...

Bridget_Phillipson_MP_Pacifica_Group_HQ_Launch_07-04-2017.jpgBridget Phillipson, Member of Parliament for Houghton and Sunderland South, has marked the official launch of the Pacifica Group’s new head office in Houghton-le-Spring.

While visiting the 11,000 sq ft premises, Bridget was given a tour of the facilities by the directors of the company, which is one of the UK’s largest providers of home services, including appliance repairs, boiler and gas installations and product warranties.

The Pacifica Group handles over 4,000 jobs per week and employs more than 350 staff.

Following the launch of its new insulation division at the start of 2017, 0800 Repair Gas, which forms part of the Pacifica Group’s Home Services division, is also planning to extend its services beyond the North East on a national scale.

Speaking after the visit, Bridget said:
“It was great to visit Pacifica Group’s new head office today and see first-hand the fantastic new facilities available to staff.
Bridget_Phillipson_MP_Pacifica_Group_HQ_Launch_07-04-2017_2.jpg
“As one of the UK’s largest providers of home services, Pacifica Group is a very important local employer and we are proud to have them here in Houghton-le-Spring.

“This new HQ building is a clear vote of confidence in our area and its workforce. I hope that Pacifica will go from strength to strength in the future.”

The Pacifica Group comprises of three divisions: Pacifica Home Services, Pacifica Appliance Services and UK Warranty.

Kevin Brown, Group Managing Director of the Pacifica Group, said:
“I would like to thank Ms Phillipson for officially marking the launch of our new head office, which was an investment for the future of the Group.

“We are gearing up for further growth on the back of moving to our Houghton le Spring base, which provides us with plenty of room for expansion.

“We are committed to supporting local, North East jobs and will be looking to create further job opportunities in the region and further afield, as we progress with our ongoing operational strategy.”
Bridget_Phillipson_MP_Pacifica_Group_HQ_Launch_07-04-2017_3.jpg
Phil Pallister, Managing Director of 0800 Repair Gas, added:
“It is exciting times for not only the 0800 Repair Gas division, but the Group as a whole, buoyed by continued investment in our people and services.

“By the close of the year, I expect our Home Services offering to be available to customers nationwide, and I am looking forward to what the future holds.”

Bridget Phillipson MP launches Pacifica Group’s new HQ in Houghton-le-Spring

Bridget Phillipson, Member of Parliament for Houghton and Sunderland South, has marked the official launch of the Pacifica Group’s new head office in Houghton-le-Spring.


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