Rural Communities debate
Andrew Bridgen condemns the situation where every pupil in Leicester is valued at £800 more than every pupil in Leicestershire, he also promotes the provision of retirement bungalows in rural areas to free up family homes.
Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire) (Con): I am so pleased that my hon. Friend is happy with the funding of education in Cumbria. As a Leicestershire MP I am not happy with the funding settlement for Leicestershire, which is the lowest-funded county, per capita, in the whole of Great Britain. We are in the bizarre situation, with no indication of any movement by the Government to repair the damage, in which the education of every pupil in the city of Leicester is valued at a stunning £800 a year more than that of every pupil in Leicestershire. That is untenable and cannot be perpetuated. To say that is not to plead poverty: there is a clear disparity between the education funding for rural areas such as Leicestershire and that for cities.
Andrew Bridgen: Is my hon. Friend aware that the average age in rural communities is seven years older than in urban communities? Is it not an option for exception sites—I will be pushing for my parishes in North West Leicestershire—to provide retirement bungalows for people— with qualifications? Often, a widow or widower who has lived in the village all their life may own a large family house. They no longer require all that space, but they do not want to lose their friends and relations in the village. If they moved to a retirement bungalow, they could free up a house so that a new family could move into the village.