HC Deb 24 February 1966 vol 725 c615
29. Mr. Leadbitter

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the estimated national percentage increase in the costs of education between 1960 and 1966; to what extent Government grants have been calculated to meet this increase; and if he will make a statement on his proposals for relieving ratepayers of their increasing share of the costs.

Mr. Redhead

Total education expenditure in England and Wales, excluding that on school meals and milk, is expected to go up by approximately 92 per cent. between 1960 and 1966; the greater part of this expenditure is incurred by local authorities, whose assistance from the Government is received mainly through the general grant which has been adjusted, under the Local Government Act, 1958, to take account both of developments of the education service and rising costs; expenditure on the education service has been taken into account in the Government's examination of local government finance and they are about to announce their conclusions.

Mr. Leadbitter

Would the Minister not agree that at this stage the present rate system which supports a considerable share of this increasing expenditure is regressive and in need of urgent re-examination? Following up what he has said about his statement, would he call for an interim report from the unit—

Mr. Speaker

Order. Questions are getting too long. I think that that is enough to answer.

Mr. Redhead

My hon. Friend must not misunderstand me. It is not my statement but the Government's announcement which is imminent. I would ask him to await that announcement, when I think that his Question will be satisfactorily answered.