HC Deb 11 December 1973 vol 866 cc192-3
22. Mr. Carter

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will detail in the OFFICIAL REPORT the main interests with which she will be discussing the implementation of the Russell Report.

Mrs. Thatcher

The local authority associations and organisations representing the other main providers of adult education, teachers' and youth workers' associations, and representatives of voluntary and other organisations with a major interest in adult education.

Mr. Carter

Will the Secretary of State confirm that she will pay particular attention to what the TUC and the trade unions say on this subject? Is it her intention that in future adult education should assume a greater percentage of the total educational budget?

Mrs. Thatcher

I am anxious to do more for adult education because I realise the great benefits that it can confer. I am sorry that the consultative document is not yet out, but I hope that it will be out within the next few weeks. In general, I am in sympathy with the hon Gentleman's wish to do more for adult education.

Miss Fookes

Can my right hon. Friend give an idea of the time scale of those consultations, and when she will be able to give a definite answer?

Mrs. Thatcher

I should think that the consultations will take some time. As my hon. Friend knows, consultation is a way of life in the education service, and once we consult one body, many more usually wish to come to see us. There will have to be some compromise on this issue, and I think it will take some time

Mr. Roy Hughes

Is the Secretary of State aware that many adult education bodies have expressed concern about the ineffectual way in which the findings of the report have been handled? Will she assure the House that there will be no further delay and that the process will be speeded up?

Mrs Thatcher

I think there will be a few weeks' further delay, but I hope that it will not be longer than that.