Labour MP urges Government to reconsider £12m spend on Queen book for children

All primary school pupils across the UK are to receive a book celebrating the achievements of the monarch over the past 70 years.

17 February 2022

A Labour MP has said the £12 million to be spent on a commemorative book for primary school children about the Queen’s reign would be better spent on preventing the spread of Covid-19.

All primary school children across the UK will receive a book that celebrates the achievements of the monarch and will explore the role she has held over the past 70 years.

Brent Central MP Dawn Butler said that although she had a “huge amount of respect” for the Queen, the book would risk her becoming embroiled in political debate.

In a letter to Boris Johnson, she said: “At a time when the Department for Education has failed to ensure all schools have adequate ventilation, £12 million would go a long way to improving the situation and providing a bulwark against further spread of Covid-19 as infection rates remain high among young people.

“It is very rare for democratic states to send children commemorative books about their heads of state, and I hope the Government will reconsider this proposal: avoiding political controversy for the monarchy and putting the £12 million of public funds to better use.

“An alternative and more modern solution might be to make the proposed book an online resource.”

The book will explore the role of the monarch and what the Platinum Jubilee represents, so primary school children can understand the celebrations.

It will be available as an audio book, with plans for it to be in English, Welsh, Gaelic and Irish, in advance of the Jubilee holiday weekend.

The print version will include a QR code which children can scan to access further material online.

A Government spokesperson said: “The commemorative book for the Queen’s Jubilee is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth over the last 70 years.

“The ambition for the book is to be inclusive and speak to all children across the UK and we have been working with the publisher and the governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, for feedback on drafts of the book.

“It will not be a textbook for use in classes, but a chance to engage children in historic events during the Queen’s reign.”

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