HC Deb 27 July 1967 vol 751 cc952-3
14. Sir J. Langford-Holt

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what has been spent as a percentage of the gross national product in the last three years on primary and secondary education; and what he expects that percentage to be in the current year.

Mr. Crosland

In England and Wales, 2.6 and 2.7 per cent. in 1964–65 and 1965–66 respectively, and an estimated 2.8 and 2.9 per cent. in 1966–67 and 1967–68.

Sir J. Langford-Holt

Does the right hon. Gentleman expect this trend to be followed in future? At what ultimate level is he aiming? How does this compare with that of our industrial competitors overseas?

Mr. Crosland

I certainly expect that a rising trend will continue, not only for demographic reasons, but, I would hope, for other reasons as well. One cannot properly set some limit on the proportion of the national income spent either on schools or on education generally. I would say that the proportion which we spend on education compares favourably with that spent by our industrial competitors.

Sir E. Boyle

Do the figures for the improvement element in primary and secondary education, as forecast in the National Plan, remain Government policy?

Mr. Crosland

I should like notice of that question, because I cannot recall offhand precisely what they were. There is certainly still an improvement element, but I should like notice before giving a dogmatic answer.