HC Deb 11 February 1960 vol 617 c639
24. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Minister of Education on what grounds he refused to accept in full the minor projects programme submitted by the Tynemouth Education Committee; and, in view of the need to bring old schools up to a reasonable standard compared with new schools in order to ensure equality of opportunity to all children, if he will reconsider this refusal.

Sir D. Eccles

When the programme was submitted in outline last September it was not clear that one of the schemes proposed could be carried out satisfactorily as a minor project; for two others the cost estimates given to me seemed too high. I am ready to reconsider the matter when I receive detailed plans and firmer cost estimates.

Dame Irene Ward

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that somewhat conciliatory reply, may I ask him whether he would bear in mind that a financially good local authority, well conducted and with relatively low rates, would find it very hard to understand why it should be discouraged by my right hon. Friend from providing modern lavatories for its old schools, particularly in view of the fact that it has almost finished its slum clearance programme, and also that there is no incentive for a good local authority because, when it wants to deal with the problem of overcrowding in its grammar schools, it is discouraged by my right hon. Friend?

Sir D. Eccles

As a general proposition, I entirely agree with the first part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question, but that does not absolve me from the duty of looking at the estimates of a minor building programme.