HC Deb 22 October 1953 vol 518 cc2122-3
4. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Minister of Education whether she will make a statement on the allotment of finance for the building, maintenance and repair of school buildings for next year.

Miss Horsbrugh

The value of major primary and secondary school building projects announced to local education authorities in England and Wales for starting in the financial year 1954–55 is approximately the same as in the current year, namely, about £45 million. The total allocation for minor projects will be about 20 per cent. larger than in 1953 to 1954. Within this total I am still discussing their allocations with individual authorities. Local education authorities are free to make in their annual estimates what provision they think necessary for maintenance and repair work.

Mr. Wyatt

Does that answer mean that no serious attempt is being made by the Government at all to deal with the shocking state in which many of our schools are at present? At this rate of progress it will be 30 or 40 years before there is reasonable accommodation.

Miss Horsbrugh

No, not so long as this Government stay in.

Mr. Baldwin

In considering the repair of schools will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that village schools want a great deal of attention? Will she allocate more money to them and their maintenance and less to the building of palaces in the towns?

Miss Horsbrugh

I must keep separately, if I can, repair and maintenance, that a local authority decide inside their estimates, and improvements, which are capital expenditure. We are, and have been since I took office, allowing more for minor work than before. That is to be still further increased, and by the new formula I think the smaller schools in the rural areas will benefit to a greater extent than they have in the past.