Crawley News 24 Column, Friday 7th September 2018

Debate about Brexit may be focused on the Government’s shambolic negotiations with the EU, but that sort of misses the point. Don’t get me wrong without a decent deal we face serious difficulties, but a trade deal means nothing unless we have an economy fit to compete on the global stage and, more than anything else, that means having a workforce with the necessary skills to either make the goods or sell the services the world wants.

To fail on skills, is to fail as a country. If the next generation lack the skills they need to compete then not only do UK living standards fall, but public services lose the taxes they need to function. Older generations can no longer rely upon a liveable pension or access to free medical care, and with even less money going into education the next generation will struggle even more. It’s a vicious circle which puts Britain into terminal decline. This doesn’t end with a Brexit deal, it ends when we start putting money back into our schools.

This week it was revealed that the number of primary school infants in classes over the legal limit of 30 pupils has nearly doubled under the Conservatives, that’s 11,432 children Crawley’s area alone. How are teachers supposed to educate our children when they are spread so thin? How can children grow when we fail to invest the time and attention that they need to learn? We are betraying not only the next generation, but a whole nation who depends upon their success for our quality of life to continue.

Thank goodness, Labour has pledged to restore the class size cap, ensuring we deliver a fair deal to our children and grandchildren, and give the UK the chance it needs to succeed, regardless of what happens with Brexit.

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