HC Deb 30 January 1969 vol 776 cc1514-5
30. Mr. J. E. B. Hill

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will give details of the advice he is giving local authorities on the postponing of repairs and maintenance of educational buildings and grounds as a measure of educational economy.

Mr. Edward Short

I have given no such advice.

Mr. Hill

Is it not clear that to get anywhere near the restrictions required by the Secretary of State, local education authorities have, on their education expenditure, been forced to cut much of their care and maintenance work for this year? Is it not piling up trouble for future years if, as a result of his policy, the only course open to them is to go on cutting maintenance in the following year as well?

Mr. Short

The hon. Gentleman is wrong again. One of the assumptions on which the rate support grant settlement was reached was that the standard of repair and maintenance over the next two years would be at about the same level as at present.

Mr. Hill indicated dissent.

Mr. Short

The hon. Gentleman need not shake his head. I was involved in the negotiations and I assure him that this was one of the assumptions.

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would care to tell the House how much, in addition to the education bill, he would add for this purpose? I assure him that we are keeping a close tally on all the additions to public expenditure which are being suggested by hon. Gentlemen opposite.