HC Deb 24 April 1996 vol 276 c432
11. Ms Lynne

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the estimated backlog of repairs facing primary and secondary schools within the Rochdale education authority. [25089]

Mrs. Gillan

It is for local education authorities and school governors to assess the need for repair work in respect of school premises that they own and maintain.

Ms Lynne

Is the Minister aware that, since the Labour party lost control of Rochdale borough council in 1992, the new administration has made education a top priority? I thank the Government for including St. Patrick's school in the new start programme. Will the Minister confirm that either she or the Under-Secretary of State for Education and Employment, the hon. Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Squire), will visit Rochdale schools to see the backlog of repairs for themselves?

Mrs. Gillan

I can see that this is my day for receiving invitations, and I shall be delighted to consider an invitation from the hon. Lady. I am sure that the Under-Secretary of State for Education and Employment has heard his invitation and will consider it. Like the hon. Lady, I was delighted that the Labour party lost control of Rochdale and I am delighted that the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have put education at the top of their agenda.

I thank the hon. Lady for her kind remarks about St. Patrick's, which is a voluntary-aided school and which will be transferring to a new site with a new building. The total cost of the project will be in excess of £1.1 million. The start of this major improvement was facilitated by a grant of £175,000 this year. I wish the school well with these major improvements.