HC Deb 24 April 1969 vol 782 cc638-9
18. Mr. Emery

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what sum of money will be spent as capital expenditure for new buildings or school improvement schemes in the year 1969–70; and what is the project expenditure for 1970–71 and 1971–72 in East Devon.

Mr. Edward Short

The building programme for schools in 1969–70 is fixed at £138.5 million. Work on major projects for new schools at Honiton and Dawlish worth £122,000 is expected to start in 1970–71. No decisions have yet been made for 1971–72.

Mr. Emery

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Devon County Council is extremely aggrieved at the low level of expenditure which is to be allowed in the ensuing two years because it is inadequate and much less than in most other areas in the country?

Mr. Short

I think that it is a reasonably fair settlement. Four schools, or four biggish projects, are starting or planned this year. I went to Devon and had long discussions with the director and the authority and I saw a great many of the schools. In all the circumstances, I think that it is a reasonably fair programme.

Mr. Peter Mills

Will the Minister bear in mind that it is a question of money being spent not only on new buildings but on modernising existing buildings? Will he also bear in mind that in Devon there are some schools where the children are most unhappy to go to the toilets because of the state of the toilets?

Mr. Short

I agree. There are thousands of old schools throughout the country in need of modernisation. It is a pity that the Conservative Party did not do more when they were in office.