Munira Wilson, MP for Twickenham, has secured an agreement with the Department for Education, which is aimed at addressing Richmond Council’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) funding gap over the course of the next five years.
The agreement will see £6m of funding by the end of the March and a total of £20m over the next five years, to address a funding gap that would otherwise have reached £18m this month.
The deal also secures an extra £20m over five years for Hammersmith & Fulham, and a bumper £27m for Kingston.
The policy was a key election pledge for Liberal Democrat Wilson, who was elected in 2019 after previous incumbent and former Lib Dem leader Vince Cable stood down.
Wilson said: “This means a great deal to the children and families right across the borough of Richmond, and this will help some of our most vulnerable.
“I am absolutely delighted for them and of course I am proud as a fairly new MP to have been able to deliver on one of my key election pledges by using the opportunities that I have and the platform that I have in Parliament to make Twickenham and Richmond’s voice heard.”
The reforms of SEND provision introduced in 2014 created a build-up of debt for local councils, which created huge stress, leading councils to find money from elsewhere in their budgets to ensure that they could fund the necessary provisions for those in the area.
Wilson explained that it was great to have this initial funding however, there is a great demand for additional funding for those who require SEND support.
She added: “I will continue to press the Government at both national and local levels, to ensure that we have the appropriate provision in place so that we meet those needs and have the funding to match that.”
This issue is widespread across England, as more and more children and young people require additional SEND help.
After successfully providing additional funding for SEND provisions, Wilson is hoping to follow up with another one of her pledges, stopping the addition of a third runway at Heathrow airport.
Wilson said: “I do not see how there can be the need for a third runway at Heathrow, I thought the case was weak before and it is even more so now.
“The emphasis should be put on helping the airport recover from the pandemic.”