HC Deb 29 January 1974 vol 868 cc222-4
4. Mr. Boyden

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science which school buildings have been deleted from the 1974–75 and 1975–76 building programmes of the Durham County Council in South-West Durham as a result of the Government's economy measures.

The Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Timothy Raison)

One project in the 1974–75 programme, the replacement of All Saints Church of England Primary School at Shildon.

Mr. Boyden

That reply will be received with great regret. As Ministers yesterday put so much stress on the cuts not being financial but being to save fuel and energy, will the Secretary of State consult the building industry and ascertain that building uses very little energy compared with manufacturing? If building is planned over the long days, and if maximum effort is put in, there need be far fewer cuts than the Government have made. Will the Minister consider that point?

Mr. Raison

I cannot accept that the building of schools and the construction of the materials which go into them use very little energy.

14. Mr. Roy Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many representations she has received from local authorities protesting about the Chancellor of the Exchequer's cuts in expenditure and their effect on new school building; what reply she has given; and if she will make a statement.

Mrs. Thatcher

I have received no such representations.

Mr. Hughes

Is the right hon. Lady aware that Wales has hundreds of schools which are over a century old and which badly need replacing? Does she agree that deprivation at an early age cannot be rectified later? Does she not further agree that it is not right that children in Newport or elsewhere should pay for the failures of this Government?

Mrs. Thatcher

Of course there are a number of old schools which still need replacing, as there were during the previous Government and the Government before that. We know that there will continue to be old buildings in education and other areas of the public service for some time. That is why I made this a top priority during the earlier part of my time as Minister. I very much regret that I have had to suspend the programme for the time being.

Mr. R. C. Mitchell

Is the right hon. Lady aware that some local authorities are ignoring the recommendations of her circular seeking to maintain the nursery school building programme? Is she aware that the Hampshire Education Committee has now decided to eliminate the whole of its 1974–75 nursery school building programme, involving 24 projects which she had already approved? What does the right hon. Lady intend doing about it?

Mrs. Thatcher

I hope that local authorities will not ignore this. If, however, a local authority does not take up its nursery programme allocation, that allocation is offered elsewhere. That is the usual rule for school building allocations for which there is a discretion. We shall find that the programme is taken up. I realise that that may not be much consolation to the hon. Member in Hampshire but it may well be some consolation to other authorities anxious to do more than their allocation permits.