HC Deb 13 November 1973 vol 864 cc227-8
6. Mr. R. C. Mitchell

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what discussions she has had with the Southampton Education Authority concerning the operation of Circular 12/73.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Officials of the Department visited Southampton on 29th October to discuss future building programmes with the education authority.

Mr. Mitchell

Will the Minister allow the Southampton education authority to proceed immediately with the rebuilding of the Bitterne Church of England Middle and First School and with the urgently needed improvements to the Deanery Secondary School, for both of which projects tenders have already been received and approved locally within the cost limits?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I am aware that the Southampton local education authority sought final approval for these projects on the day before the circular was issued and that the tenders were within the cost limits. I regret the need to delay starts in these circumstances, but we are bound by the circular. We cannot make exceptions. However, when the period covered by the moratorium comes to be considered we shall certainly have regard to Southampton's case.

Mr. Hattersley

Does the moratorium on new contracts end on 1st January?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

A circular will be issued as soon as possible setting out the basis for the resumption of building.