HC Deb 23 July 1974 vol 877 cc1279-80
9. Mr. Ashton

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will state the average cost of educating a child in a rural area compared with educating a similar child in a city.

Mr. Armstrong

I regret that this information is not available.

Mr. Ashton

Is my hon. Friend aware that it is a good thing for him to try to arrive at this information? Does he realise that many parents in rural areas who protest loudly and at length about the rates do not seem to realise what it costs to take a child to school beyond the three-mile limit? Does he agree that the position ought to be explained to more ratepayers in rural areas so that they can ascertain the difference in the cost of educating their children and children in cities?

Mr. Armstrong

I want to be helpful to my hon. Friend, but there is no easy method of distinguishing between urban and rural parts of counties. Statistics from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy for 1972–73 show that county boroughs spent an average of £131 per primary pupil while counties spent £134. But counties often include sizeable urban areas, so that comparisons are unreliable and meaningless.

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