HC Deb 27 April 1988 vol 132 cc340-1
9. Mr. Harry Greenway

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much is spent on the education of each pupil in primary and secondary education; what were the comparable figures in cash and real terms five and 10 years ago; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Michael Forsyth

Between 1978–79 and 1986–87 spending per pupil in local authority primary schools in Scotland increased in real terms by 34 per cent. The corresponding increase for pupils in secondary schools was 26 per cent. I shall arrange for the full details to be published in the Official Report.

Mr. Greenway

May I congratulate my hon. Friend on those remarkable figures? The whingeing Labour party in Scotland should tell people the facts, which are that much more is being spent per pupil in Scotland than in England, Ireland and Wales—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. This is the United Kingdom Parliament and the hon. Gentleman has a question on the Order Paper.

Mr. Greenway

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Will my hon. Friend confirm that the Scots cannot be basically a nation of slow learners or of less fundamental intelligence than the English, Welsh or Irish? So why is so much more being spent per pupil in Scotland than in the rest of the country?

Mr. Forsyth

Education costs £424 a year more per secondary pupil in Scotland than in England. It is difficult to be precise about the reasons for that, but they might include, for example, the fact that in Scotland we have a larger number of teachers per pupil and higher secondary teachers' salaries, and we have had less success than England in reducing surplus places. Most significant of all, the rates burden on schools in Scotland is much higher, being 8 per cent. in Scotland as opposed to 3 per cent. in England. Rates account for no less than 25.8 per cent. of non-teaching costs in our schools.

Dr. Moonie

Will the Minister confirm that the main reason for the higher quality of education in Scotland is that none of our regional authorities have the misfortune to be run by his party?

Mr. Forsyth

I am delighted to have the hon. Gentleman's confirmation that the education authorities are well funded under this Government and are provided with more staff than are those elsewhere in the United Kingdom. He will no doubt want to reflect that this year expenditure on education in Scotland will go up by about 9 per cent., which is a better performance than that under the Government whom he supported.

Following are the details:

Net current expenditure1 per pupil in Scotland
Primary schools Secondary schools
At outturn prices At 1986–87 prices2 At outturn prices At 1986–87 prices2
1978–79 395 771 719 1,403
1983–84 882 1,008 1,368 1,563
1986–873 1,036 1,036 1,764 1,764


1. Net current expenditure covers the cost of salaries and wages, premises and certain supplies and services. It does not include the cost of school meals, central administration debt charges or revenue contributions to capital outlay.

2. The outturn figures for the earlier years have been revalued to 1986–87 prices using the gross domestic product (market prices) deflator.

3. The latest information available on actual expenditure is for the financial year 1986–87.