HC Deb 05 March 1970 vol 797 cc611-2
31. Mr. Kenneth Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what extra allocation of resources he proposes to make in order to provide for the increase in the school leaving age in due course.

Mr. Edward Short

I have already allocated a special building programme of £137 million over the four years 1969–73 for the raising of the school leaving age and to meet the increase in voluntary staying on at school before the age is raised. The extra current expenditure by local authorities from 1973–74 onwards will of course come into the reckoning of public expenditure and rate support grant in due course.

Mr. Lewis

Yes, but does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that "allocating" is not the same as "providing"? How can he provide the money for comprehensive education, which is viable only in purpose-built schools, and at the same time this extra money for raising the school leaving age? How can he get the Treasury to agree that this double amount of money is made available?

Mr. Short

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman has not listened to my answer, but let me explain it clearly to him. Over and above the ordinary building programme, I have allocated an additional £137 million for the four-year period for capital expenditure on raising the school leaving age.

Mr. Edwin Wainwright

Would my right hon. Friend say something about providing the teachers when we raise the school leaving age?

Mr. Short

Yes. In the present school year—last September—we provided an additional 13,000 teachers; in September of this year there will be an additional 17,000, and each year from now on there will be a similar number of additional teachers in the schools. So, by the time that the school leaving age is raised, the schools will be able to take the strain without any difficulty.