HC Deb 09 April 1970 vol 799 cc728-9
11. Mr. J. E. B. Hill

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science to what extent local education authorities are succeeding in restricting the increase in their educational expenditure to 3½ per cent. in real terms above 1968–69; and within what percentage increase over the current year it is his policy that they should keep in 1970–71.

Mr. Edward Short

It is too early to say just how much local authorities spent on education in 1969–70. As for 1970–71, the rate support grant settlement in 1968 envisaged educational expenditure being about 3¾ per cent. higher than in 1969–70, in real terms.

Mr. Hill

Is it not apparent that, even if the figures cannot be measured, the local education authorities have had to go way above the limit? Can the Minister say whether he expects them to be able to keep to that limit in the current year and employ all the trained teachers coming forward in order to continue the struggle to get class numbers down without making further cuts elsewhere in the education services?

Mr. Short

I expect them to employ all the teachers available. The present distribution between rate-borne expenditure and rate support grant-borne expenditure available to local authorities at present is in the ratio of 43 to 57, as I told the hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. St. John-Stevas).

16. Mr. Molloy

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what has been the total gross expenditure on education over the past five years; and what was the figure for the previous five years.

Mr. Edward Short

In the five years ending in 1968–69 expenditure on education in Great Britain amounted to £9,000 million. In the previous five years the total was nearly £5,350 million.

Mr. Molloy

Does my right hon. Friend agree that this must be of tremendous encouragement to all who devote their lives and skills to education? Furthermore, is it not proof positive of the Government carrying out their philosophy to see that education is given its right priority for the future well-being of our nation?

Mr. Short

I agree with my hon. Friend. At last we have a Government prepared to devote the right amount of resources to education.

Sir H. Harrison

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that these figures are rather misleading in view of the great inflation which has taken place under this Government?

Mr. Short

No. The figures are impressive however the hon. and gallant Gentleman may juggle with them.