§ The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Frank McElhone)
It is for Tayside regional council to decide when and if this proposed project should go ahead. On present information it cannot be regarded as a project required to provide extra school places, which means that resources would have to be found from the general allowance for school improvement and replacement work in the council's capital allocations.
§ Mr. Welsh
That is a very disappointing answer. Is the hon. Gentleman aware 437 that children in Kirktons are being scattered into other areas because of poor planning by Tayside regional council? Is he aware that many of these children will later attend Arbroath high school, which has atrocious accommodation problems? Will he take action to bestir Tayside regional council into carrying out this long-overdue project?
§ Mr. McElhone
The position in Arbroath is that the number of places in the six non-denominational primary schools is 3,891. The number of pupils in February 1978 was 2,818. In other words, there are 1,000 spare places in Arbroath at primary level. If a school is built there will be 1,500 spare places—50 per cent. more than are needed. That is the difficulty. If the Tayside region wants to make that a priority, it has sufficient capital allocations from my Department to carry out the work.