HL Deb 05 March 1980 vol 406 cc258-60

3.7 p.m.

Viscount SIMON

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:—

To ask Her Majesty's Government from what fund it is proposed to finance the assisted places scheme contained in Clause 17 of the Education (No. 2) Bill now before Parliament if that Bill becomes law.


My Lords, the Government intend to finance the assisted places scheme from funds which Parliament will be invited to vote in the usual way.

Viscount SIMON

My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Baroness for that reply. But if it is to be funded from funds which Parliament will later vote, surely if Parliament elected not to vote those funds, the funds would be available for other purposes, would they not?

Baroness YOUNG

My Lords, on this particular point the Treasury allowed for additional expenditure on this scheme because it was a commitment in the party manifesto.


My Lords, is the noble Baroness aware that this is a new policy being adopted by noble Lords opposite?—because the great Winston Churchill said that no party should be held to anything "stuck in a manifesto." Since when was that "stuck in the manifesto?"

Baroness YOUNG

My Lords, I will tell the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Leek, that in fact we agreed the principle of this scheme in 1975, when unfortunately his Government decided to phase out the direct grant scheme. It was included in our manifesto;we included it in the Queen's Speech;and we are legislating upon it.

Baroness BIRK

My Lords, as the Minister has said, and we know, that the Treasury is making more money available for this particular scheme, is she taking into account what was said by several of her noble friends—including the noble Lord, Lord Butler, in the Second Reading debate—that the money would be better used in helping to transport children to school?

Baroness YOUNG

My Lords, I have read with great interest everything that has been said in the debate on the Second Reading of this Bill, and no doubt we shall have plenty of opportunity to debate it further in the Committee proceedings next week.

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