HC Deb 30 March 1976 vol 908 cc1083-4
5. Mr Skinner

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a further allocation of money to the Derbyshire Education Committee to pay for the removal of all outside toilets, particularly from infant and junior schools.

Miss Margaret Jackson

My right hon. Friend does not allocate money to local education authorities for school building work, as such. Annual authorisations are made which represent ceiling figures for loan sanction and within these an authority is free to decide on the projects it wishes to start.

Mr. Skinner

Is my hon. Friend aware that if the Government produce a White Paper which cuts back educational expenditure by?620 million by 1978–79, all education authorities will be affected by it, and that it is bound to affect the Derbyshire education authority's scheme of improvements to get outside toilets put inside, for infants who have to struggle across 100 yards of school yard in rain and snow? Will not my hon. Friend revise the policies and give Derbyshire education authority more money so that these improvements can be put into effect as speedily as possible?

Miss Jackson

I regret that it is not within my power to revise any White Paper. We are aware of the problems faced by the Derbyshire education authority and we know that it has made a decision to concentrate its money this year on the provision of basic needs and to confine improvements to minor works. I realise that the authority would like more money to deal with all the problems in the area, but unfortunately that is not possible at this time.

Mr. Montgomery

Is it not a terrible admission that schools such as this are still in existence in 1976? Does it not prove that the Government have their priorities all wrong, and that they should be attending to such schools instead of going ahead with their Bill to impose comprehensive education on local authorities?

Miss Jackson

By definition, the problems that exist in 1976 existed throughout the 1950s, and certainly from 1970 to 1974, when the Conservatives would have us believe that they were doing everything possible to make the country a much better place in which to live. I do not accept the hon. Gentleman's comments.

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