HC Deb 14 March 1979 vol 964 cc436-7
9. Mr. Welsh

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give a definite starting date for the proposed Kirktons primary school in Arbroath; and what provision he is making to ensure that this necessary project is expedited.

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 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.