HC Deb 16 December 1943 vol 395 cc1678-9
37. Sir William Davison

asked the President of the Board of Education whether any estimate has been made of the cost which would be involved in bringing the buildings of non-provided schools throughout the country up to the standard required for provided schools; and what is the probable number of new non-provided schools which are likely to be required and the estimated cost of their provision?

The President of the Board of Education (Mr. Butler)

The extent of the alterations, improvements and new construction required for this purpose cannot be accurately determined until the development plans have been prepared by local education authorities, and the proportion of the cost falling to the managers and public funds respectively will not be known until the managers have had an opportunity of exercising the options offered to them under the Education Bill. In the circumstances any estimate made at this stage of the cost involved in respect of the whole range of non-provided schools must necessarily be tentative.

Sir W. Davison

Does my right hon. Friend realise that this question of cost is a vital matter in considering the proposals of the Bill relating to non-provided schools and is he aware that the estimated cost of modernising many non-provided schools throughout the country even with the 50 per cent. grant, and building the necessary new schools, is beyond the means of many non-provided school managers?

Mr. Butler

That is a very big question and one which is a matter of opinion, but I am, of course, aware that the new proposals will involve certain burdens for the managers.

Mr. Leach

Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that he made an estimate to me some little time ago of the cost of this proposal, and is that estimate still holding good?

Mr. Butler

Anything I say to the hon. Member and to the House holds good.