HC Deb 03 May 1972 vol 836 cc359-60
1. Mr. Eadie

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what total financial allocation he has approved for Midlothian's school building programme; and what total sum was sought for approval.

The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Education, Scottish Office (Mr. Hector Monro)

The education authority sought approval to start work to the value of £1,175,000 in 1973–74. So far £220.000 has been approved, but the allocation of investment for the year in question has not yet been completed.

Mr. Eadie

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that some of us expected that he and his hon. Friends would be wearing black ties today after last night's election results in Scotland? Since the original suggestions by Midlothian for the school building programme have been discriminated against and as there is disquiet about school building programmes that may not materialise, will the hon. Gentleman assure us that in the allocation of financial resources there has been proper appreciation of the new town in Midlothian which has a rapidly increasing population?

Mr. Monro

I will not follow the hon. Gentleman in his morbid forecast except to remind him that in future years he may wish his own side had not misrepresented the Housing (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Bill. I appreciate his important point about the new town. This point together with others will be discussed at the meeing which I have suggested with the education authority.

Mr. Dempsey

Will the Minister give his reason for slashing the secondary school building programme? Does he realise that he has absolutely crippled Lanarkshire and that there is little prospect of any new school building going ahead in that county?

Mr. Monro

The hon. Gentleman must realise that allocations for school building have to be shared out amongst all the authorities and this is done to the best of our ability in the Department. He may like to be reminded that in the current two years we are spending almost £90 million on school building, which compares with £60 million—the highest two-year figure which the Labour Government ever produced.

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