HC Deb 01 April 1963 vol 675 cc173-9
Mr. M. Stewart

I beg to move in, page 44, line 44, at the end to insert: Provided that the Minister of Education may direct that any two or more outer London boroughs shall submit to him a joint restatement of the said scheme or schemes of further education so far as relating to those boroughs; and any such joint restatement when so submitted shall be deemed for the purposes of the said section 42 to be a scheme of further education which has been submitted to the Minister of Education under subsection (1) of that section. This Amendment reminds us that the Clause is concerned not only with primary and secondary schools, but with the whole apparatus of education—indeed, with everything that comes into the purview of an education authority. When, in outer London, the county service for education is broken up, provision must be made both for the development plans for primary and secondary education and for schemes for further education. The provision which is made in the Bill is that each borough is to take the bits of the existing scheme for further education which apply to itself and submit them in the form of a restatement to the Minister; and subject to the Minister's approval, they are to be deemed to be the scheme of further education for that borough.

The Amendment is a simple one and it should be acceptable, because it is not mandatory. It merely gives the Minister power to do something that he might find it useful to do. He might conclude when he looked at, say, two of the new boroughs which now form part of the County of Middlesex or part of the County of Surrey that the attempt to take the previous scheme of further education and restate it solely in the terms of one borough was difficult administratively.

We suggest, therefore, that the Minister should have power to say to any two or more boroughs, "I do not want you to present me with an individual scheme. I want you to present me with a joint scheme." One of the reasons why that may be so desirable in the case of further education is that the resources, human and material, available for further education are limited. One does not want adjacent boroughs in their schemes of further education trying to make provision which will unnecessarily duplicate effort and waste resources.

There is sometimes a temptation for a borough, if it has a college doing further education work of a competent standard—but only up to a certain standard—to observe that its neighbour has a college doing work of a more advanced standard and to feel as a matter of proper pride that it also should develop work to that standard and not to observe that if both it and its neighbour tried to do that, neither of them might be able to get the staff to do it properly. Problems like this occur all over the country and to deal with them we generally have regional advisory committees on further education. But their powers, of course, are only advisory. Similarly, the Minister has power—indeed, it is his duty—under the 1944 Act when he is considering any education authority's scheme for further education to consider it in the light of the schemes of its neighbours. What we are proposing is merely a sort of improvement on that.

As the Bill now stands, each borough has got to state its own scheme for further education. The scheme then goes to the Minister. Then the Minister, in the exercise of his powers under the 1944 Act, could say to each one, "You have not properly considered what has been done in your immediate neighbourhood. Take it back and consider it again." What we are suggesting is a procedure that might avoid that repetition of work. The Minister, from his knowledge of the conditions in adjacent boroughs, might well say, "They are more likely to get the thing right and avoid the necessity of having it sent back to them if they are asked in the first instance to prepare a joint scheme, where they can consider together what resources they have got and what is the most economical and sensible use of them."

I do not deny or retract at all from the general criticisms of the educational provisions of this Bill, but I think at this point we have an opportunity, without offending the Government's general beliefs that have inspired this Bill, to avoid some of the possibility of fragmentation and waste of effort which we feel is the danger underlying the whole proposal. This, at least, is a point on which we could be agreed, and I hope the Parliamentary Secretary can tell us that the Government are prepared to accept the Amendment.

Mr. A. E. Cooper (Ilford, South)

I hope the House will have nothing whatever to do with this Amendment. This is nothing more than a restatement of the proposition put forward by the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) some years ago, that the gentleman in Whitehall knows best.

The hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart), with his experience of local government, which extends over many years, ought to know that since long before the war there have been voluntary arrangements between adjacent boroughs for pooling their resources in respect of all sorts of services. This has happened in connection with sewage disposal, ambulance and fire services, and there is no reason to suppose that in this present day and age there will not be the same sort of close association and co-operation between adjacent boroughs in connection with higher education.

There is a very close and intimate association between adjacent boroughs, and this Amendment turns on the word "direct" which, in spite of anything that the Parliamentary Secretary may say, puts great power in the hands of the Minister. As I say, I sincerely hope that the House will have nothing to do with this Amendment.

Mr. Chataway

There is, as my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Cooper) has said, the closest co-operation between boroughs and counties in further education, and there has to be, because no authority, however large, can aim at complete self-sufficiency in the provision of further education. It would be quite wrong for it to do so. My right hon. Friend therefore completely accepts the proposition that the new education authorities in outer London will have to co-operate closely just as other local education authorities do throughout the country.

This proviso in the Amendment would enable my right hon. Friend to direct two or more authorities to submit joint schemes, and I suggest to the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) that this is unnecessary. As the Bill stands, each of the outer London boroughs is required to submit a revised scheme for further education to my right hon. Friend for his approval, and, under Section 42 (4) of the Education Act, a local authority is required, when it is preparing a scheme, to have regard to any facilities for further education provided by universities, education associations and other bodies and to consult with such bodies and the local education authorities for adjacent areas. Therefore, my right hon. Friend can see to it as a condition for his approval that the schemes of neighbouring education authorities are properly co-ordinated.

Besides this, my right hon. Friend has power under the 1944 Act to establish joint education committees of two or more local education authorities if that seems to be expedient for some purpose. My right hon. Friend therefore has, under the 1944 Act, a power on all fours with the power which the hon. Gentleman suggests here.

I quite agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South that it is undesirable for the Minister of Education to use those powers lightly. In practice, it has been found that co-operation can be secured by less formal arrangements, but I assure the hon. Gentleman that the power is there under paragraph 3 of Part II of the First Schedule to the Education Act, 1944 and, since my right hon. Friend has that power, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will agree to with-draw the Amendment.

Mr. M. Stewart

Would it be possible, as the Bill now stands, for two or more boroughs which wished to do so to submit to him a joint restatement? If it would not be, might it not be desirable to consider amending the Bill in another

place at least to enable boroughs which wish to do so to do it?

Mr. Chataway

No. Boroughs which wished to do so would be able to submit a scheme in that form to my right hon. Friend.

Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 147, Noes 219.

Division No. 89.] AYES [9.58 p.m.
Ainsley, William Harper, Joseph Pargiter, G. A.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Hayman, F. H. Parker, John
Awbery, Sun (Bristol Central) Henderson, Rt.Hn.Arthur(RwlyRegls) Parkin, B. T.
Barnett, Guy Hill, J. (Midlothian) Pavitt, Laurence
Beaney, Alan Hilton, A. V. Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Holman, Percy Popplewell, Ernest
Bence, Cyril Hooson, H. E. Pries, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Houghton, Douglas Probert, Arthur
Benson, Sir George Hunter, A. E. Purvey, Cmdr, Harry
Blackburn, F. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Redhead, E. C.
Boardman, H. Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Reynolds, G. W.
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics,S.W.) Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Rhodes, H.
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Janner, Sir Barnett Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Bradley, Tom Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Robertson, John (Paisley)
Brockway, A. Fenner Jeger, George Ross, William
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Short, Edward
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Callaghan, James Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Skeffington, Arthur
Cliffe, Michael Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Collick, Percy Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Small, William
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Kelley, Richard Snow, Julian
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) King, Dr. Horace Sorensen, R. W.
Cronin, John Lawson, George Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Crosland, Anthony Lee, Frederick (Newton) Spriggs, Leslie
Crossman, R. H. S. Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Dalyell, Tam Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Stones, William
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Strachey, Rt. Hon. John
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Lipton, Marcus Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
Deer, George Lubbock, Eric Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)
Delargy, Hugh MacColl, James Taverne, D.
Dempsey, James McKay, John (Wallsend) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Diamond, John Mackie, John (Enfield, East) Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Dodds, Norman MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Donnelly, Desmond Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Thornton, Ernest
Driberg, Tom Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.) Tomney, Frank
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Manuel, Archie Wade, Donald
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Mapp, Charles Wainwright, Edwin
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Mason, Roy Watkins, Tudor
Finch, Harold Mayhew, Christopher Weitzman, David
Fitch, Alan Mellish, R. J. Whitlock, William
Fletcher, Eric Millan, Bruce Willey, Frederick
Galpern, Sir Myer Mitchison, G. R. Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Ginsburg, David Moody, A. S. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Morris, John Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Gourlay, Harry Mulley, Frederick Winterbottom, R. E.
Greenwood, Anthony Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Woof, Robert
Grey, Charles Noel-Baker,Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby,S.) Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. Oswald, Thomas
Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Owen, Will TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Padley, W. E. Mr. Charles A. Howell and
Mr. Rogers.
Agnew, Sir Peter Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) Bourne-Arton, A.
Aitken, W. T. Berkeley, Humphry Box, Donald
Allason, James Biffen, John Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John
Atkins, Humphrey Biggs-Davison, John Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward
Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham) Bingham, R. M. Braine, Bernard
Balniel, Lord Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Brewis, John
Barlow, Sir John Bishop, F. P. Bromley-Davenport,Lt.-Col. Sir Walter
Barter, John Black, Sir Cyril Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry
Batsford, Brian Bossom, Hon. Clive Brown, Alan (Tottenham)
Bryan, Paul Hendry, Forbes Partridge, E.
Buck, Anthony Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)
Butler, Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden) Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Percival, Ian
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Hirst, Geoffrey Pitman, Sir James
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Hobson, sir John Pott, Percivall
Cary, Sir Robert Hocking, Philip N. Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch
Channon, H. P. G. Holland, Philip Price, David (Eastleigh)
Chataway, Christopher Hornby, R. P. Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)
Chichester-Clark, R. Hornsby-smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P. Prior, J. M. L.
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Pym, Francis
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Ramsden, James
Clarke, Brig. Terence(Portsmth, W.) Hughes-Young, Michael Rees, Hugh
Cleaver, Leonard Hulbert, Sir Norman Renton, Rt. Hon. David
Cole, Norman Hutchison, Michael Clark Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool,S.)
Cooke, Robert Iremonger, T. L. Robson Brown, Sir William
Cooper, A. E. James, David Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Jennings, J. C. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Corfield, F. V. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) St. Clair, M.
Costain, A. P. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Scott-Hopkins, James
Coulson, Michael Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Seymour, Leslie
Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Sharpies, Richard
Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne) Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith Shaw, M.
Crawley, Aidan Kaberry, Sir Donald Skeet, T. H. H.
Critchley, Julian Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Curran, Charles Kerr, Sir Hamilton Smithers, Peter
Currie, G. B. H. Kimball, Marcus Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John
Dance, James Kirk, Peter Spearman, Sir Alexander
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Kitson, Timothy Stevens, Geoffrey
Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Digby, Simon Wingfield Langford-Holt, Sir John Studholme, Sir Henry
Doughty, Charles Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Tapsell, Peter
Drayson, G. B. Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
du Cann, Edward Lilley, F. J. P. Temple, John M.
Duncan, Sir James Linstead, Sir Hugh Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Litchfield, Capt. John Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Elliott,R.W.(Nwctsle-upon-Tyne,N.) Longbottom, Charles Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Loveys, Walter H. Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Cordon
Errington, Sir Eric Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Turner, Colin
Farr, John MacArthur, Ian Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Finlay, Graeme McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia Tweedsmuir, Lady
Fisher, Nigel Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Forrest, George McMaster, Stanley R. Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Macpherson,Rt.Hn.Niall(Dumfries) Vickers, Miss Joan
Gammans, Lady Maddan, Martin Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Gardner, Edward Maginnis, John E. Wakefield, sir Wavell
Gibson-watt, David Marshall, Douglas Walder, David
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central) Marten, Neil Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek
Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Wall, Patrick
Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Ward, Dame Irene
Goodhew, Victor Mawby, Ray Webster, David
Gower, Raymond Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Wells, John (Maidstone)
Grant-Ferris, R. Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Green, Alan Mills, Stratton Williams, Paul (Sutherland, S.)
Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Miscampbell, Norman Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Gurden, Harold More, Jasper (Ludlow) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Hall, John (Wycombe) Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Wise, A. R.
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Nabarro, Sir Gerald Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Harris, Reader (Heston) Neave, Airey Woodhouse, C. M.
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Woodnutt, Mark
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Woollam, John
Hastings, Stephen Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Worsley, Marcus
Hay, John Osborn, John (Hallam)
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Page, Graham (Crosby) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Henderson, John (Cathcart) Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) Mr. Peel and Mr. McLaren.

It being after Ten o'clock, Mr. SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to Orders, to put forthwith the Questions on Amendments, moved by a member of the Government, of which notice had been given, to that part of the Bill to be concluded at Ten o'clock.