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News From Westminster- By Michelle Donelan MP

SINCE being a candidate I have been campaigning for fairer funding in our schools and more money into our education system. I believe that every child, no matter where they are born, should have the same opportunity to reach their potential which is why I have been fighting for fairer funding for Wiltshire schools.

After a long and hard-fought campaign for increased funding for schools across Chippenham constituency, I am delighted that the government announced a 4.8% increase in per pupil funding, significantly higher than the original proposal (which I fought against) and a real boost to all our schools.

This is fantastic news for local schools, particularly those in rural areas which face higher costs and challenges than those in urban areas. This will support the futures of local children and I will be speaking to all headteachers right across the constituency in the coming month to discuss the increased funding and the wider programme in more detail.

As a member of the Education Select Committee I do believe that we still need to invest even more into education – the bedrock of opportunity and local people can be assured that this will continue to be one of my main priorities.

This week I was also pleased with the announcement of an extension to sentencing for the most serious animal cruelty crimes from six months to five years. I have actively campaigned for this measure in recent months, meeting with and writing to ministers, as well as tabling questions in the House of Commons. I feel immensely proud that the government has taken this strong action to deter people from abusing and neglecting animals and thank the 300-plus constituents who contacted me to highlight this key issue.

I am looking forward to meeting Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in the coming weeks to talk about other areas we can improve the welfare of animals and strengthen the great tradition of animal rights in the UK as we exit the European Union.

Back to local issues, I met with the Town Team in Corsham to discuss the re-opening of the train station. I have raised this issue many times in Parliament and will continue to do so and work with the group to help secure our much-needed station. I have also had numerous meetings with community groups and constituents.