35. Major Whiteley
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he has considered the resolution passed by the Bucks County Council on 12th May, urging an extension of the period during which the special grant of 50 per cent. will be made towards the cost of the provision of buildings for elementary schools beyond the date now fixed, 31st December, 1940; whether similar representations have been made by other bodies; and what action it is proposed to take?
The answer to the first two parts of the question is in the affirmative. In view of the fact that the Education Act, 1936, provides for the raising of the school age on 1st September, 1939, my Noble Friend considers that an extension beyond the end of 1940 of the period of currency of the special grant of 50 per cent. would be inappropriate.
Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that this limitation is forcing local authorities to incur heavy expenditure at a time when both local and national expenditure is going up, and that that expenditure could quite easily be spread over a rather longer period, without any educational disadvantages?
Yes, Sir, I am aware of that, but, as my answer indicates, the currency of the special rate of grant is clearly related to the date of the raising of the school age.
Is the hon. Member aware that this tends to lead to concentration on buildings for elementary purposes, at the expense of buildings badly needed in some cases for secondary and technical purposes?