HC Deb 15 May 1973 vol 856 cc1232-3
18. Mr. Evelyn King

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what consents have been given for increases in boarding school fees charged by public authorities in Dorset; what percentage increases they represented; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

None. Consent was not required for increases before the commencement of the counter-inflation programme. No increases occurred during stage 1; those proposed to take effect during stage 2 must be consistent with the Price and Pay Code.

Mr. King

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is not in the educational interests of any child that on financial grounds he should be removed from a school in the course of his school career? Is he aware that since 1969 the local authority-controlled school in question has increased fees by no less than 99 per cent. during the school lifetime of a child and is now proposing an increase of 20 per cent.? Will he use his influence to ensure that that does not happen?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I certainly regret the interruption of any child's education. Of course, local education authorities determine their own fees for boarding schools which they maintain. The Department's consent is not required and the Department has no power to intervene. I am sure that my hon. Friend will use his influence in this matter.

Mr. Marks

What does the Price and Pay Code say about school fees? Does it affect private school fees? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there are reports of fees being doubled since the freeze?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Responsibility for the Price and Pay Code does not fall within the sphere of my Department.