HC Deb 02 June 1980 vol 985 cc1027-8
10. Mr. D. E. Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the success of the assisted places scheme in schools in Wales.

Mr. Michael Roberts

I have every confidence that the scheme will prove successful when it is introduced.

Mr. Thomas

How many nursery places could be made available for the £750,000 being spent on the assisted places scheme?

Mr. Roberts

In the year 1981–82, £100,000 will be spent on the scheme, not £750,000.

Mr. Alan Williams

Does the Minister realise that it is unacceptable to Welsh parents that the Government should go ahead with the scheme and waste money in that way while the Secretary of State for Education is calling on parents to provide school books for the State system?

Mr. Roberts

The last Government closed the direct grant schools in Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom. Many parents regarded those schools as important. They will welcome the scheme.

Mr. Best

Is it not extraordinary that Labour Members should try to discriminate against bright children from poor families and prevent them from having the opportunity of a better education? Does not that prove that it is the Conservative Party that really cares about the people who are least able to spend money on education but who deserve a good education?

Mr. Roberts

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. When the scheme is working people will recognise that it makes an important contribution.