HC Deb 29 July 1954 vol 531 cc662-3
8. Mr. Wilkins

asked the Minister of Education if she is aware of the urgent need for a catering training school in the South-West region of England to meet the needs of the catering industry; and whether she is now prepared to give her consent to the inclusion in the 1955–56 education building programmes of such facilities.

15. Mr. Hayman

asked the Minister of Education what proposals she has received for providing a catering unit at Torquay Technical College to serve the South-Western counties; and what decision she has taken in this matter.

Miss Horsbrugh

I am aware of the need for better facilities for catering education in this region, but as I have explained to the Devon local education authority, I cannot at present approve a proposal which involves substantial new building.

Mr. Wilkins

May we take it that it is only a temporary embargo on the provision of these facilities? Is the right hon. Lady not aware that her Department not only sanctioned the proposals but, I am advised, set aside money to carry them through? Does she realise the urgency of this need in South-West England, in which the catering industry is a basic industry?

Miss Horsbrugh

I quite agree that we want to have better facilities for catering instruction, but we have certain urgent priorities in the building of technical colleges. The priorities are engineering, mining, textiles and building. However, I have suggested to the Devon authority that although it cannot put through its bigger project at the present time we should meet to discuss how its more pressing needs could be met by a relatively small project.

Mr. Hayman

Will the right hon. Lady bear in mind that this is intended to be a regional unit for the whole of the South-West? Will she remember that the tourist industry is one of the most important in the South-West, particularly in Cornwall and in my constituency, Falmouth and Camborne? If the Treasury is blocking the way to this much needed extension of the buildings will she ask the Chancellor to remove his embargo quickly?

Miss Horsbrugh

I do not think I can add to what I have said, and the hon. Gentleman will not disagree with me about the importance of mining, as well as catering, in his constituency.

Mr. C. Williams

Will my right hon. Friend, now that the Government's policy has progressed so much, use her influence with other Ministers who are in favour of amending this circular so that there can be better training for this great dollar-earning industry in future?

Miss Horsbrugh

I think that we must keep the priorities, and that the other Ministers and the House will agree that the four priorities we have in the types of technical education must come first.