HC Deb 24 May 1982 vol 24 c629
2. Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent per pupil in primary schools in Wales in the most recent year for which figures are available.

The Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Michael Roberts)

Net recurrent expenditure per pupil in primary schools in Wales was £571 in 1980–81. This figure excludes expenditure on school meals, milk and transport.

Mr. Knox

Is that the highest amount ever spent in money and in real terms?

Mr. Roberts

The expenditure is broadly comparable to the level reached in the previous year. It is significantly higher than in 1978–79. Expenditure plans envisage a rising level of expenditure per pupil in Welsh schools. However, we must bear in mind that there are falling school rolls and diseconomies of scale. Despite that trend, the standards in our primary schools are very high.

Mr. D. E. Thomas

Rather than listen to the hon. Member for Leek (Mr. Knox), who always asks the same question, will the Minister direct his attention to what is in the inspectorate's report on the effects of falling rolls and the diseconomies of scale caused by this trend in both rural and urban areas? Will he ensure that the resources are substantially increased, particularly for books and other forms of audio-visual equipment for primary schools?

Mr. Roberts

I shall continue to answer my hon. Friend's questions. If they bring answers that are unpalatable to the hon. Gentleman, that is not my fault. The diseconomies of scale are a problem. Our plans for 1982–83 will allow expenditure on books and equipment in Welsh schools to be restored to 1978–79 levels.

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