HC Deb 21 June 1956 vol 554 cc1624-5
39. Mr. Gibson

asked the Minister of Education how many projects, involving capital expenditure, put forward by local education authorities during the year ending April, 1956, have been refused consent, or a starting date denied; and the total amount of capital involved in these decisions.

Sir D. Eccles

Seven hundred and three of the 829 primary and secondary school projects in the 1955–56 programme have now received my final approval. Some of the 204 projects cleared in the last three months have been slightly delayed as a result of the starting date procedure, which I announced in March. The remaining 126 projects roughly to a value of £11 million will be dealt with under the procedure announced in the circular issued a few days ago.

Mr. Gibson

Does not the Minister realise that what he has just said justifies the criticism that was passed on his building programme at yesterday's meeting of the Association of Education Committees, when one delegate described his building plans as having the curious charm of a bogus company prospectus? In view of the strong feeling in education circles, and the real nonsense of cutting down education facilities, will not the right hon. Gentleman look at the matter again, speed up the starting dates and increase the amount of capital expenditure?

Sir D. Eccles

I am going to Southport tonight to tell the delegates tomorrow morning what I think of them, for a change. As a matter of fact, the postponement of the schools about which the hon. Member is inquiring is so slight that it will have practically no effect at all upon completions.