HC Deb 18 March 1974 vol 870 cc647-8
10. Mr. Alec Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the total effect of the cuts in Government expenditure announced in December 1973 on the school building programme in Wales for the years 1973–74 and 1974–75.

Mr. Barry Jones

As a result of the cuts in public expenditure announced last December by the previous administration, a start was deferred on some 70 major primary improvement projects.

Mr. Alec Jones

Will my hon. Friend say what affect these cuts will have on the introduction of comprehensive education in Wales? It is feared in many parts, notably in my own constituency, for example, that there will now be a delay, and my local education authority may well be the last in the country to go completely comprehensive as a consequence of these cuts.

Mr. Barry Jones

I am aware of my hon. Friend's interest in secondary education matters in the Rhondda. Secondary improvement projects were not immediately affected by the cuts, since they were not due to start until 1975–76. These and all other elements of the school building programme are now under review.

Mr. Peter Thomas

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that at the time when the cuts were announced I stated that the essential priorities for education in Wales would be preserved—that is, basic needs, special schools and nursery education, and minor works? Is it intended that that should continue?

Mr. Barry Jones

I confirm that the basic needs and special and nursery schools programmes are not affected by the cuts. The total cost of these cuts is £3.6 million capital and £2.4 million procurement for the year 1974–75.