Among seven-year-olds in 2012, 24 per cent of free school meal recipients did not reach the expected level in reading, versus 10 per cent of their better off peers.
Elective surgical centres would be an efficient way to lighten the load on acute hospitals. The health service must be less monolithic in order to cope better.
Priti Patel: Priorities for the new Party Chairman. Let’s democratise, decentralise, cut membership fees – and open up candidate selection.
We must value the expertise and hard work of grassroots Party members far more. They hold the key to our future.
Too often it seems as though our perimeters are seen as a problem to be patched-up rather than an asset to be fully modernised.
My own analysis proposes ‘equivalence’, and outlines a model UK-EU agreement based on enhancements to the existing EU notion of it.
Owen Paterson: Why are we so insular, unimaginative and inward-looking about healthcare? Europe’s systems are better than the NHS.
In a whole host of countries – Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland – A&E waiting times are typically under an hour.
As a permanent member of the Security Council and close ally to all members of the Coalition, it is in a perfect position to do so.
David Campbell Bannerman: We’ve voted to leave the EU but, until Brexit takes place, we need to keep our MEPs
Each one of us will have a vote on any deal – and 73 MEPs may well be crucial to passing it.
This logic can be extended to protecting our fisheries, to re-examining our use of fertilisers, to building up flood defences and to our uptake of renewable energies.
Huw Merriman: Celebrate the successes of rail privatisation – and push for further reform to reduce fares
It would be wrong, and fruitless, to try to ape Labour by denying the clear improvements delivered since the end of British Rail.
Although some pretend the UK must choose between binary options, the reality of what is possible is rather different.
J. Meirion Thomas: The new rules aimed at preventing health tourism are toothless, and leave the NHS wide open to abuse
The official guidance contains gaping loopholes, and Freedom of Information requests show that Health Trusts are unprepared to carry out vital checks.
The doom-mongers and nay-sayers grumble out of self-interest. Meanwhile, Brexit Britain is strong and set to grow stronger.
Liam Fox: In this new year, let’s resolve to capitalise on the huge trade and investment opportunities of Brexit
The pessimism of some at home is contradicted by the successes of British businesses, and the rising interest in the UK that I see around the world.
For political reasons some ignore practical solutions and pretend the current EU arrangements are perfect. Such obstructionism helps no-one.