HC Deb 01 March 1962 vol 654 cc1512-3
15. Mr. McKay

asked the Minister of Education what were his grounds for reducing the Northumberland County Education Authority's allocation of£225,000 per annum for the two years ended March, 1961, for minor works to£100,000 per year from 1st October, 1961, to March, 1963; what consultations he had with the county authorities; and whether he made a survey to find out the needs of the county before the decision was made.

Sir D. Eccles

I announced last July that allocations for minor works would have to be reduced as part of the Government's financial measures. No special survey of the county's needs was made, but my officers corresponded with those of the authority before the reduction in Northumberland's allocation was announced.

Mr. McKay

Is the Minister aware that I sought information from the Director of Education on what consultations had been made and that he tells me that the only consultation was in this letter, consisting of nothing but figures? Is he further aware that if it is necessary to cut down educational finance, we surely do not simply cut it down by the same average without considering the individual needs of each county and whether the estimate of one county is in harmony with the urgent needs of that county? The Minister has made no examination of Northumberland. Is there not mare urgency there than in some other districts, and should it not get a bigger allocation? The Minister seems to have a slipshod method of fixing these things.

Sir D. Eccles

I understand the hon. Gentleman's anxiety, but I can assure him that we do our best to take the relative needs of each local education authority into consideration in apportioning the minor works allocation.

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