HC Deb 16 April 1953 vol 514 cc370-1
43. Mr. G. Jeger

asked the Minister of Education how many new schools have been opened since October, 1951; and how many of these had been started after that date.

The Minister of Education (Miss Florence Horsbrugh)

Between 1st October, 1951, and 1st February, 1953, 643 new schools were taken into use, including nine which were started after 1st October, 1951.

Mr. Jeger

Do not these figures show how nonsensical and misleading is the current Conservative propaganda which claims credit for all the new schools now being opened month by month, when the overwhelming majority of them were started by the right hon. Lady's predecessor?

Miss Horsbrugh

I do not know whether I can help the hon. Gentleman by repeating some of the things I have said before—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]— but I never give up hope. If one states the truth, it may be understood some time. The schools are being completed more quickly, and, therefore, we are getting school places at a quicker rate than ever before.

Miss Ward

Is it not a fact that the contribution the Conservative Government have made is that we have enabled money to be made available, which would not have been done if the party opposite had remained in power?

Miss Horsbrugh

It is the fact that we have done more schoolbuilding work this year than ever before, and we have been able to produce the money, the materials and the labour.

Mr. Jeger

Would the right hon. Lady direct her inquiries to the Conservative Central Office propaganda department and get them to stop their misleading propaganda on this matter?

Miss Horsbrugh

I should be only too glad to do so if they were not giving full recognition, as I hope they are, to the wonderful work that is being done.

46. Mr. Blackburn

asked the Minister of Education when the first new school begun after January, 1952, was completed; and the total number of such schools, the local authorities concerned and the total cost.

Miss Horsbrugh

The following is the information requested: Hampshire, Blackfield County Primary, £12,585, completed in December, 1952; Derbyshire, Birley County Primary, £56,400, completed in February, 1953.

Mr. Blackburn

In view of the fact that the first school was obviously completed in under 12 months, would the Minister not agree that it is now possible to accelerate the present school building programme in order to relieve the distressing conditions that exist in schools in so many parts of the country?

Miss Horsbrugh

Yes, it is, and we have accelerated it. In most cases we seem to be taking half the time to build schools that was taken before.