In her column, Bridget Phillipson MP does not hold back from criticising “The Tories” for the effect of their policies on children but she is less candid about the failings of her own Labour-run council or the intentions of her party nationally.
Nothing can have done more to damage the lives of the most vulnerable children in Sunderland than the failure of the council’s Children’s Services, which was rated as the worst performing such department in the country in 2015.
Since then, and four years later, successive reports by Ofsted have noted a lack of improvement and an enormous cost to the local taxpayer with millions spent on agency staff and children still not being properly cared for in the city.
Nationally, the three Labour MPs have made promise after promise in relation to education and children with every impression being given that their party would fund EMA, tuition fees and more school funding to name but three.
Sharon Hodgson has been most prolific in these terms, even siding with the ‘school cuts’ campaign which has now been ticked off by the UK Statistics Authority for making misleading claims about funding for schools.
In the 2017 General Election, she tweeted “Students with debt, vote Labour!” even though it was not party policy and Jeremy Corbyn later said: “I did not make a commitment we would write it off ... we were unaware of the size of it.”
One former Labour MP, Chuka Umunna, referred to unfunded pledges as a reason for his discontent but locally MPs have been silent on the plans of the party leader – against whom they twice voted – but happy to make promises galore.
Coun Robert Oliver,
Leader, Conservative Council Group