HC Deb 03 July 1979 vol 969 cc1089-90
8. Mr. Thomas Cox

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what discussions took place with the Inner London Education Authority before he approved the financial reduction in expenditure on primary school improvement.

Dr. Boyson

My right hon. and learned Friend had no prior discussion with the ILEA.

Mr. Cox

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that his reply is disgraceful? Does he realise that in the borough of Wandsworth, and in many other ILEA divisions, a number of improvements are needed in primary schools? Many of the school toilets still in use were built 80 or 90 years ago. If the work is to take place, is it not the height of stupidy to cut expenditure now when the work needs doing? When the work is eventually carried out the cost will have escalated to far more than the present cost.

Dr. Boyson

The House should understand that Ministers cannot have discussions about the Budget before the Statement by my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The expenditure cuts in the improvement programme for 1979–80 in England amounted to 40 per cent. but in ILEA they were only about 6 per cent. That represents £200,000—basically the allocation for improvements to the Thomas Calton school, which may be closed within two or three years.