HC Deb 10 February 1972 vol 830 cc1531-2
4. Mr. Thomas Cox

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the percentage cut in the minor works school programme for primary and junior schools in the Inner London Education Authority area, which will take effect in the next financial year.

Mr. van Straubenzee

The minor works programme is for projects costing less than £40,000 at primary and secondary schools and other educational establishments. It is for the Inner London Education Authority to decide within its overall allocation on the resources to be devoted to primary schools.

Mr. Cox

Will the hon. Gentleman deny that there is to be a cut of at least 25 per cent. in the minor works programmes in inner London from the beginning of the new financial year'? Is not that a scandalous decision in view of the repeated talk we hear of the Government's supposed concern about primary and junior education? Does not the hon. Gentleman realise the effect the cut will have on worthwhile projects that would benefit both teachers and children? May I finally say—[HON. MEMBERS: "Too long."] This is of interest to my constituents and to other people in inner London. If the hon. Gentleman is in any doubt as to the reaction of head teachers, teachers and parents, may I invite him to come into my constituency and meet them?

Mr. van Straubenzee

If I had been asked about the overall minor works programme I should have given the answer, of course. I substantially confirm the figure given by the hon. Gentleman, though the allocations to the various schools or types of school is a matter for I.L.E.A. It will also be of general interest not only to the hon. Gentleman's constituents but to many others that primary school numbers are falling in inner London. For example, only 20 per cent. of London's primary classes now have more than 35 pupils. My right hon. Friend has to consider the situation in the whole country.