HC Deb 15 April 1954 vol 526 cc1333-4
49. Mr. J. Johnson

asked the Minister of Education if she is aware of the increase in the birth rate of Warwickshire which has taken place earlier there than elsewhere; and whether, in view of this and other exceptional circumstances, she is satisfied that the 1955–56 building programme will cope with the anticipated shortage of school places in this county.

Mr. Pickthorn

The local education authority have submitted full details in support of their proposals for the 1955–56 school building programme and these are now being studied. The programme will have to be related to my right hon. Friend's policy as set out in Circular 245 and to what is practicable locally, but within these limits it will be fixed to provide additional school places where they are required.

Mr. Johnson

Is the Minister aware that the Warwickshire County Council is deeply concerned about the future position? I was glad to hear the hon. Gentleman's concluding words, but is he aware that the Minister conceded the argument of the Coventry county borough about the extraordinary increase in the birth rate? Will she, when considering the Warwickshire claim, pay attention to that fact?

Mr. Pickthorn

I must not be taken as admitting the universal validity of the argument that whatever happens anywhere must happen anywhere else, but my right hon. Friend is extremely conscious of the high rate of increase of population in the area with which the hon. Gentleman is concerned. She is well aware of the migration out of Birmingham in that direction and the immigration especially of miners and engineers; and in the fixing of the new programme all that will be, and is being at this moment, taken fully into consideration.

Mr. G. Jeger

May I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on being allowed to answer Questions at the Dispatch Box?

Mr. Pickthorn

I should have been allowed to answer more if there had been more Questions.