HC Deb 05 May 1955 vol 540 cc1875-7
2. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Minister of Education the average length of time now being taken to complete a school in England and Wales; and what was the corresponding figure in 1949.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education (Mr. Dennis Vosper)

The average construction period for schools started in 1952–53 is about two-thirds of what it was for schools providing the same number of places started in 1949.

Mr. Johnson

How do the costs of the schools built at these dates compare?

Mr. Vosper

That is a slightly different question. At constant prices the cost is about two-thirds of what it was in 1949.

Dr. King

Can the hon. Gentleman give the corresponding figures for 1950–51?

Mr. Vosper

I could, but not without notice I am afraid.

4. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Minister of Education how many schools and school places are at present under construction in England and Wales; and how many of these are in Manchester.

Mr. Vosper

On 31st March, 1955, there were 959 schools and 395,000 places under construction in England and Wales. Comparable figures for Manchester on 1st February, 1955 (the latest date available) were 8 schools and 4,025 places.

Mr. Sparks

Can the hon. Gentleman say how those figures compare with the figures his right hon. Friend gave in the House a day or two ago, which showed that the actual number of new school places in use in 1954 was 99,729 and in 1955 29,445? How do those compare with the figures which he is now giving?

Mr. Vosper

There is, of course, a great difference between schools approved, schools under construction and schools completed, and there is in fact little variation between the figures given. Whichever figures are given, they show an increase in building over earlier years.

6. Sir F. Medlicott

asked the Minister of Education how many new school places have been provided in Great Britain during the periods 1945 to 1951 and 1952 to the present time, respectively; and how many will be provided by the schools now under construction or authorised to be constructed.

Mr. Vosper

Between the end of the war and 31st January, 1952, 679,985 school places were provided by new building in England and Wales. The corresponding figure for the period 1st February, 1952 to 31st January, 1955, is 668,415. On 1st February last there were a further 316,830 school places under construction, while 351,300 were due to be started between that date and 31st March, 1956.

Mr. Blackburn

Would the Minister inform us how many of the school places which have been completed since February, 1952, were started before this Government came into office?

Mr. Vosper

As a school takes between two and three years to build, the majority of the schools were started prior to 1951, but the hon. Member will realise that there is an equally large number under construction at the present time.

Mr. E. Johnson

Are not the figures just given a very striking example of the propensity of the party opposite to start something which they cannot finish?

8. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Minister of Education how the numbers of schools completed and of school places provided in Manchester since 1st November, 1951, compare with the figures for the period between 1st August, 1945, and 31st October, 1951.

Mr. Vosper

For schools completed, the answer is 10 for the first period and 26 for the second: for school places 11,010 and 10,620.

Mr. Johnson

Do not these figures provide a striking and yet typical example of the great improvement in the state of this country since 1951?

Mr. Robens

May I ask whether these questions are designed to supplement "All the Answers," issued by the Conservative Central Office?

Dr. King

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the first Government referred to in connection with this Question found no schools under construction when they took office, but that the present Government inherited schools under construction from the Labour Government?

Mr. Vosper

Of course I am aware of that, but the figures nevertheless are very striking.