Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner visits Hartlepool ahead of #GE2017

Mike Hill with Angela Rayner
Mike Hill with Angela Rayner

The Labour Party drafted in one of its big hitters as the battle for Hartlepool hots up ahead of the General Election next week.

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner joined the party’s candidate Mike Hill to campaign in the town centre.

The party has made the issue of school funding a central platform of its campaign.

Thinktank The Education Policy Institute (EPI) estimates Hartlepool schools will lose out on almost £900,000 of funding under new rules.

The figures show Hartlepool would receive £60,229,688, a cut of £873,225 on the current figure and the equivalent of a 1.4% budget cut.

The organisation says there are unlikely to be any schools in England which will avoid a real terms cut in per pupil funding by 2019-20, and up to half of primary schools and around half of secondary schools will be faced with significant real cuts in funding per pupil of between 6% and 11% by 2019-20.

“Our schools are facing the bleak prospect of yet more under funding and a slide back to the dark days where prospects through education were for the elite and not the everyday young person in the street,” said Mike Hill.

“Our communities and young people deserve a better deal which is why it is important to fully invest in our schools but also to praise the work of the FE College and Sixth Form College in offering such diverse career opportunities.

“It really makes me proud to know that our college is the second top performing in the country and is determined to see our position improved.”

Mike Hill was chosen as Labour’s candidate to fight the Hartlepool seat on June 8 after previous MP Iain Wright decided not to stand for re-election.

He had represented the constituency at Westminister since 2004, winning the seat in a by-election triggered by Peter Mandelson’s resignation after his appointment as a European Commissioner.

Mike Hill is one of four candidates contesting Hartlepool.

As well as Mr Hill, voters will be asked to choose from the United Kingdon Independence Party’s Phillip Broughton; Carl Jackson for the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrat candidate Andy Hagon.

Labour has held Hartlepool since the constuitioency was formed in the local government reorganisation of 1974, but the seat will be high on the target list for both the Conservatives and UKIP.

Iain Wright secured 14,076 votes in the 2015 election, ahead of Phillip Broughton on 11,052, a majority of just 3,024