HC Deb 25 November 1952 vol 508 cc225-7
1. Mr. Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many local education authorities' school building programmes are now held up for shortage of steel; and how far this situation will be remedied within the next six months.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Henderson Stewart)

Inquiries made of education authorities show that no schools now under construction are held up for lack of steel: but the Lanarkshire and Glasgow authorities have had to postpone starting 10 schools for this reason. My right hon. Friend can give no precise forecast of how the situation will change in the next six months, but, as the hon. Member was informed on 29th October, the needs of school building will be fully taken into account in future allocations of steel.

Mr. Hamilton

In regard to these 10 schools, whose starting is being held up, can the Minister indicate what is represented in terms of money? Can he give any approximate forecast of what is to happen in the next six or 12 months? Are the Government to increase the allocation of steel for school building, or will there be a less amount than in the previous period?

Mr. Stewart

I am sorry that I cannot give the hon. Member an answer in reply to the first part of his supplementary question, but I shall be glad to look into it if he puts it down. In reply to the other question, I am not really able to say. We should very much like it if it could be extended, because we want more schools.

Mr. Rankin

Can the Joint Under-Secretary say whether it is primary or secondary schools which are being held up in Glasgow?

Mr. Stewart

If the hon. Member will be so kind as to put that question down, I could give him a proper answer.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that Glasgow is already £3 million behind in starting schools because of concentration on housing? Already there is a great problem in Glasgow caused by bringing children by motor vehicles from outlying areas to the older schools in the city. Is it economy to prevent Glasgow getting on with the building of schools, involving, as it does, this traffic backwards and forwards which might be avoided? Surely the beginnings could be made, because I understand that the steel shortage is likely to be lessened very soon?

Mr. Stewart

As the right hon. Member knows better than I do, there are seven schools in Glasgow where building has been held up, and all seven will be on very difficult high ground, involving the use of an excessive amount of steel. It is on that account that we have to hold up the building for the time being.

24. Mr. Bence

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the number of schools under construction in Clydebank, and the number proposed.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

Two new schools are at present under construction in Clydebank and seven more are proposed.

Mr. Bence

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the overcrowding in the schools, not only of Clydebank but the whole county of Dunbartonshire, is worse than that in any other county of Scotland? Will the hon. Gentleman instigate an inquiry about why further progress has not been made in Dunbartonshire and Clydebank to provide adequate accommodation for the children?

Mr. Stewart

I do not think that an inquiry would be any advantage. We are fully aware of the circumstances. The hon. Member is right in his description of the situation. We should like to do more, and if steel were available we should probably do it.

Mr. Wheatley

Can the hon. Gentleman say when a start will be made on the building of the proposed schools?

Mr. Stewart

I can give the right hon. and learned Gentleman a lot of facts if he wants them. There are two schools under construction now. Both schools were started in 1950. Both should be ready in 1953. There are two other schools now being extended, and there are seven schools now scheduled for building.

Mr. Wheatley

I asked when a start would be made on building the seven scheduled schools.

Mr. Stewart

I am sorry. I cannot answer that question.

25. Mr. Carmichael

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many new schools are under construction in Scotland; how many were commenced since January, 1952; and what was the number of schools completed during 1950 and 1951.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

The latest date to which statistics are available is 30th September. Eighty-four schools were then under construction, of which 22 were begun in 1952. Twenty-four schools were completed in 1950 and 29 in 1951.