§ 2. Mr. Moonman
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will implement the recommendations of the Select Committee on Education to institute a detailed inquiry into the Guildford School of Art.
§ 50. Mr. Christopher Price
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will implement the recommendations of the Select Committee on Education and Science to institute an inquiry into Guildford College of Art.
§ The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Mr. Gerald Fowler)
My right hon. Friend's statutory powers to hold an inquiry under the present law and the limitations on them were described in detail by my predecessor in a written reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Billericay (Mr. Moonman) on 30th April—[Vol. 782, cols. 247–9.] We have no proposals for further legislation at present.
§ Mr. Moonman
Certainly my Questions will be as consistent as those answers. Is my hon. Friend aware that the Select Committee has drawn attention 587 to what is a public scandal? Would he try to arrange some consultation with the Department of Employment and Productivity in an effort to help the employment position of the staff, which is quite disgraceful?
§ Mr. Fowler
It is a little hard to describe the present statutory position as a public scandal. Local education authorities have certain responsibilities and it is important that we should not deprive them of those responsibilities without due consideration.
§ Mr. Christopher Price
Is my hon. Friend aware that this issue will not lie down until his Department does something about it? While I congratulate him on his new appointment, may I ask him to say why, if the Government could inquire into a private firm like Bristol Siddeley as the result of a Select Committee's Report, they cannot inquire into a publicly-financed body in such an utterly scandalous case as this?
§ Mr. Fowler
The reason we cannot inquire into it is perfectly simple and has been stated time and again. There are no statutory powers to do so. I must insist that we in this country have a system that has grown up over the years by which responsibility for educational provision is shared among a number of bodies. There may be a case for change, but it would be unwise to make changes on the basis of a particular event in a particular place.