My local primary, Southfield primary School has received about £145,000 from the Coalition Government as part of the Pupil Premium.
This Liberal Democrat initiative is used to help those pupils who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Nationally over £2 billion has been budgeted for this measure, which helps to redress some of the inequalities in our society.
It is a good example of where Liberal Democrats are making a difference in Government. Left to their own devices a Conservative Government would not have introduced the Pupil Premium.
Although we have far fewer MP’s than the Conservatives at Westminster, we are pursuing our Liberal beliefs and are able to curb the more extreme Conservative ideas. This is not easy in a Coalition but it does demonstrate that coalition governments can work.
To help families bringing up young children we have announced new support for Childcare. This will help up to 15,000 families in Ealing, and could save a typical working family with two children £2,400 a year. This is on top of policies to give men more of a chance to take parental leave.
Even if you look at Higher Education, where we have had to take unpopular decisions, the poorest 30% of graduates will pay less overall than under the previous system introduced by Labour.
Another area neglected by Labour was apprenticeships. Since 2010 over a million people have started apprenticeships, with about 4,000 created in Ealing alone. Apprenticeships for those under 25 will give work experience and improve their prospects of getting a job.
One of our long standing manifesto commitments was to increase the tax threshold to £10,000.The last budget included the largest rise ever in the personal allowance to £9,205. This will directly benefit 129,200 people in Ealing. Increasing the allowance has lifted nearly 12,000 low earners in Ealing out of paying Income Tax altogether. Next year we will have made further progress and no one will pay a penny in income tax on the first £10,000 they earn.
Despite the problems we inherited from the last government, Liberal Democrats have helped to implement policies that will help our children, support families and paved the way for economic recovery here in Ealing and elsewhere.
Councillor Gary Malcolm,
Group Leader, Ealing Liberal Democrats