HC Deb 13 February 1973 vol 850 cc1118-9
4. Mr. Madel

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether, in view of the rising school population of Bedfordshire, due to the Government's policy on London overspill, she will make additional grants to the county council to assist with the housing of teachers.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Local housing authorities are free to build houses to meet the needs of their area. The arrangements for grant are made by the Housing Finance Act 1972. This does not provide for specific grants for housing of teachers.

Mr. Madel

In view of that reply, may I draw my hon. Friend's attention to the fact that a rise in population such as we have seen in Bedfordshire means that there is an increase in education problems? May I have his assurance that he will keep in very close touch with the Bedfordshire Education Authority to make sure that these education problems are overcome?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Yes, my hon. Friend may have that assurance. I am concerned about this problem, as my hon. Friend knows by the correspondence which we have been having. Apart from the ability of local authorities to provide council houses for accommodation for teachers, local education authorities have adequate powers to build or buy houses to mortgage or to lease to teachers. This is entirely a matter for the local authorities. The Bedfordshire Education Authority has a very good record in this respect. I understand that it will extend its efforts to provide accommodation for married and single teachers. I hope that other authorities will follow this excellent example.

Mr. Freeson

In view of that reply, will the hon. Gentleman indicate to the House the amount of loan sanction that the Department has given to local education authorities in the past 12 months to provide housing along the lines he has suggested?

Mr. St. John-Steyas

I should be glad to provide the hon. Gentleman with the information he has requested.