HC Deb 08 July 1971 vol 820 cc1511-2
28. Dr. Marshall

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how she proposes to implement her policy of spending the money saved on school milk on other projects for primary schools.

Mrs. Thatcher

Last October the Government announced that the starts programme of primary school building improvements for 1972–73 would be increased from £11 million to £35.5 million in England. I notified individual local education authorities of their shares of that programme at the end of last year.

Dr. Marshall

In view of that reply, can the right hon. Lady tell us exactly how the money spent on school milk is to be used?

Mrs. Thatcher

It is inevitable that, if one is switching priorities, one reduces expenditure on one matter in order to spend more on another. Perhaps I might remind the hon. Gentleman of Aneurin Bevan's quotation: 'The language of Socialism is the language of priorities.

Mr. Orme

Is the right hon. Lady aware of the growing indignation on this issue, the growing opposition to the imposition of these charges, and the pressure which she is coming under in the Cabinet? What will the Government do about removing these charges?

Mrs. Thatcher

I did not know that it was even the hon. Member's policy to remove all charges for school meals and milk, which would cost £275 million a year. I am well aware that on this side of the House and in many primary schools, parents, teachers and pupils are delighted that they have some prospect of having their education in buildings far better than hon. Members opposite could provide.