HC Deb 27 June 1968 vol 767 cc802-4
25 and 26. Mr. Ogden

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if he will state the number of primary and secondary schools in the city of Liverpool whose structure consists of more than 50 per cent. timber frame construction; and if he will list the number of serious fires that have occurred in such Liverpool schools in the past five years;

(2) what representations have been made to him by the city council of Liverpool to assist the replacement of predominantly wooden schools by safer, permanent buildings; and what reply he has made.

Miss Bacon

I am informed by the local education authority that the frame construction of 18 schools includes substantial amounts of timber. In the past five years there have been two serious fires in school buildings of part timber construction.

No representations have been made to me about replacing such schools.

Mr. Ogden

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Does she not think that two serious fires followed by another serious fire are three fires too many? Will she accept my assurance that after yesterday's council meeting her right hon. Friend will be getting representations from the City of Liverpool? Will she undertake to see that they are given urgent consideration?

Miss Bacon

I will consider anything from the local authority and we all recognise that if a fire starts, it is worse in a timber building. Nevertheless, I understand that there have been three serious fires in non-timber school buildings in Liverpool. I understand that the local authorities are in constant contact with the fire brigade in Liverpool to minimise the effect of such fires.

Mr. Fortescue

Does not the right hon. Lady consider that in the present financial stringency replacement of these timber buildings by brick or other solid buildings should have absolute priority over every other form of education expenditure in Liverpool?

Miss Bacon

I would need the advice of the experts before committing myself so far.