§ 10. Mr. Lipton
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what consultations he had with the Minister of Education before announcing the decision of Her Majesty's Government regarding the future of education in London.
I have acted throughout in the closest consultation and accord with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education.
§ Mr. Lipton
That is a very curious reply. Whilst most people welcome this temporary climb down on education, will the Minister say whether it was based on the weight of educational considerations or on a panic decision to get Conservative candidates out of trouble in the London borough council elections?
The House was promised that the area and the population of the central area would be carefully considered. The White Paper said no more than that it could well be of the order of 2 million. That further consideration has been carried out, and I hope the hon. Member will not regard as a climb down the carrying out of the promises to consider carefully a number of issues which were left open by the White Paper.
§ 12. Mr. M. Stewart
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether the decisions of the proposed statutory education committee of the Greater London Council will be subject to consideration or modification by the Greater London Council as a whole.
§ Mr. Stewart
Could the Minister get this quite clear? Am I to understand that this education committee will not be a committee in the ordinary sense of the word, and that it and the Greater London Council will be two completely independent bodies, including financial independence, despite the fact that the membership of the two bodies will overlap?
The hon. Member has stated the position perfectly clearly, and I agree with what he has said.
§ 13. Mr. M. Stewart
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether, in view of the decision of Her Majesty's Government concerning the London County Council's education service, he will so revise his proposals for the reorganisation of Greater London Government as to prevent the dismemberment of the London County Council's children's service.
No, Sir. The circumstances are different. The Government have always accepted the need for special arrangements for education in the centre of London. The child care service they believe to be properly a borough responsibility through the Greater London area, given the proposed re-organisation of the boroughs. This service is increasingly based on field work by child care officers, and close association with the local health and welfare services is desirable.
§ Mr. Stewart
Is the Minister aware that the Government are practically unique in believing that about the child care service? Is he aware that everyone acquainted with the service realises the unwisdom of breaking up a well-organised county children's service to be run by local authorities? The arguments here are even stronger, if anything, than in the case of education. The only difference is that the number of children is far less and they are children who, by definition, have parents who are either unable or unwilling to be interested in them. Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that if he neglects the children for that reason he will be doing a scandalous thing?
It is not unique to believe that the care of children is properly related to the health and welfare services and should be gathered together with those services as a borough responsibility.