HC Deb 13 November 1973 vol 864 cc240-1
24. Mr. Marten

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will make a statement on the effect of phase 3 on school building.

Mrs. Thatcher

School building is included in the arrangements for phasing forward public building works announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 8th October. The general effect of the statement is that new starts which would otherwise have started will be delayed by about three months. The basis on which approvals are to be resumed from 1st January will be announced as soon as possible.

Mr. Marten

Is my right hon. Friend aware how very frustrating the delay has been to the ordinary process of building our schools, particularly in the country areas? May we have an assurance that we shall have the details as soon as possible and certainly before Christmas?

Mrs. Thatcher

Yes. It must be before Christmas, because approvals are due to start again on 1st January.

Mr. Marks

The right hon. Lady has said that there will be an increase in unit costs for school building when building is resumed. Will she ensure that those authorities which have been unable to get tenders but already have approval will be able to get an increase in the new pricing?

Mrs. Thatcher

We will take into account some of the tender prices when we look at unit costs.

Mr. Hattersley

I am not entirely clear about what was said earlier. Is the right hon. Lady saying that the moratorium definitely ends on 1st January?

Mrs. Thatcher

If the hon. Gentleman had been listening, he would have heard me tell my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) that approvals restart on 1st January.