HC Deb 19 December 1963 vol 686 cc1427-8
26. Mr. W. Hamilton

asked the Minister of Education when he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy on the proposals contained in the Newsom Report; and what estimate has been made of the total cost of the full implementation of the recommendations made.

Sir E. Boyle

In reply to the first part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer I gave the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Swingler) on 5th December. In reply to the second part, it is not practicable to give any such estimate.

Mr. Hamilton

How, then, can the Chancellor give, in the White Paper, a specific figure of a £310 million overall increased expenditure on education over the next five years? Has the right hon. Gentleman not been able to separate the amount of expenditure needed to implement the new proposals of Robbins? Can he confirm or deny the figures, given by Mr. Newsom himself and reported in the Economist of 7th December, that the capital cost of implementing the Newsom Report would be £120 million with a recurrent cost of £60 million?

Sir E. Boyle

The figures in the White Paper relate to the position up to and including 1967–68 before it is proposed that the school leaving age should be raised. Those figures do assume not only much higher school building programmes but a rising improvement element in secondary schools in terms of the movement in the direction of 16 as the leaving age.

I think that the estimate that Mr. Newsom has given for capital cost is approximately correct, but I would rather not commit myself about the figure for recurrent cost because this must depend so much on our success in recruiting teachers.

Mrs. Slater

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is feeling among teachers and others interested in education that there is a tendency to lose Newsom in the desire to achieve Robbins? If we are to achieve Robbins in the future we must implement Newsom in order to provide the people who can take advantage of Robbins. Does not the Minister think that at least a more definite statement should be made and some estimate given of how much the Chancellor is prepared to put into this programme, and that the right hon. Gentleman should not go on deferring this, possibly until after the General Election?

Sir E. Boyle

If the hon. Lady will look at the White Paper on Government expenditure she will see that there is specific reference to the Newsom Report. As I have said several times, we are planning to spend £250 million more on secondary schools over the next five years at a time when the secondary school population is remaining stable. That means more in real terms per head of secondary school children.