HC Deb 13 February 1973 vol 850 cc1132-3
21. Mr. Jessel

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the total cost of educational services provided from public funds in the last financial year; and what proportion of this amount was carried by local authority rates and by the Exchequer, respectively.

Mrs. Thatcher

£2,646 million on education in England and Wales and on universities in Great Britain. Of this total local authorities spent £2,232 million and of this sum 45 per cent. was borne by rates and 55 per cent. by the Exchequer.

Mr. Jessel

In view of the burden of rates upon households, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether, from the point of view of her Department, she would see any objection to a larger proportion of the costs still being borne by the Exchequer and less by the rates?

Mrs. Thatcher

The proportion of the rate support grant has recently been increased with the very object of reducing the burden on the rates, and the contribution from the Exchequer has gone up steadily over the last few years.

Mr. Marks

Is the right hon. Lady aware that with the proposed monitoring of rates by the Department of the Environment there are dangers to the education service if authorities are asked to cut their rates? The dangers are in repairs to buildings, equipment and staffing. What part is the Department playing in this monitoring of rates and what steps is the right hon. Lady taking to see that the education service does not suffer?

Mrs. Thatcher

I think that I have taken great steps to see that the education service gets an increasing proportion of what is going. I think that it will continue to do very well from local expenditure. We will watch the point that the hon. Gentleman has made.