HC Deb 05 March 1975 vol 887 cc1465-6
8. Mr. Dempsey

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what applications he has in hand for the provision of accommodation for comprehensive education in Coatbridge; and if he will make a statement.

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Robert Hughes)

Lanarkshire Education Authority's school building proposals for the next two years included projects to provide accommodation at St. Ambrose, Columba and St. Patrick's Roman Catholic High Schools. The authority's proposals as a whole greatly exceeded in value the amount of school building my right hon. Friend was able to authorise for these years; and it will now be for it to decide, with the agreement of Strathclyde Regional Council, which projects to include in the programme for 1975–76.

Mr. Dempsey

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Columba High School, which is dubbed one of Lanarkshire's slum schools, requires about £1½ million for the provision of roofs and to replace an annexe, and that Coatbridge High School and St. Patrick's High School require £1.3 million—all at 1974 prices? In other words, over £3 million is required, but the county council is satisfied that it will not be able to afford one penny for those improvements for the next two years. Will my right hon. Friend visit Lanarkshire and discuss this serious situation? Will he give us an assurance that resources will be made available to eliminate these slums from the town of Coatbridge?

Mr. Hughes

My hon. Friend should be aware that Lanarkshire has been allocated £6,424,000 for 1975–76 for new starts. The priority given to school building is very much a matter for the local authorities to decide and to agree on amongst themselves. As regards visiting Lanarkshire, I understand that Lanarkshire is visiting me first to discuss this and other matters.

Mr. Dempsey

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that reply I wish to give notice that I shall attempt to raise the matter on an early Adjournment debate.

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