§ 23. Mr. Beith
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she is satisfied that rural counties will be able to satisfy the assumptions she made about educational expansion in the rate support grant settlement without either exceeding the Government's recommended limit in rate increases or significantly reducing other services.
§ Mrs. Shirley Williams:
The assumption of modest growth in current expenditure on education of about 3½ per cent. between 1977–78 and 1979–80 underlying this year's rate suport grant settlement is directed to the national picture and, as I made clear in my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Ginsburg) on 24th November, each local authority will need to consider its budget for next year in the light of its own local needs and circumstances. There has been an increase of £95 million in the total needs element grant available for distribution this year and the settlement ensures that all groups of authorities will benefit, including non-metropolitan counties which get £37 million more in real terms, two-thirds of them gaining individually.