HC Deb 24 April 1969 vol 782 cc645-6
28. Mr. Roebuck

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the total spent on education in 1964–65; and what is the estimated figure for 1969–70.

Mr. Edward Short

Actual public expenditure on education in Great Britain, including school meals and milk and local libraries and museums, in 196465 was £1,527 million. I estimate that expenditure in 1969–70 will be £2,322 million, an increase of 52 per cent.

Mr. Roebuck

Is my right hon. Friend aware that that is such a splendid Answer that I am rendered almost speechless. Will he continue to resist the incontinent demands of the brass-faced business men opposite for cuts in public expenditure and see that these facts are driven into the heads of the tiny minority of congenital belly-achers on this side of the House?

Mr. Short

If it left my hon. Friend speechless, it must have been quite an Answer. The incontinence of the Conservative Party is well known, of course. As in most other spheres, this is part of the excellent record of this Government, which must be maintained.

Sir E. Boyle

Will the right hon. Gentleman remind his hon. Friend, when he is in a mood to listen, that the primary school population alone has risen by half a million since 1964? Is it not obvious that this component of expenditure is no more the consequence of anything done by the present Government than, for different reasons, it was due to myself?

Mr. Short

I am not sure what that means. However, what the present situation means is that under this Government there has been a massive shift of resources from other areas of spending to education, and, for the first time ever in our history, we are spending more on education than on defence this year.