§ Mr. Foster
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what would be the net cost to the Exchequer of a 10 per cent. increase in participation in full-time education of 16 to 19-year-olds, taking into account savings in youth opportunity programme expenditure;
(2) if he will estimate the marginal cost of a 10 per cent. increase in participation in full-time education amongst 16 to 19-year-olds, taking into account the use of capacity released by falling rolls.
§ Mr. Macfarlane
No simple calculation is possible, because spare capacity is unevenly distributed throughout the country and not all will be suitable for the needs of those in the age group currently not participating in full-time education.
On the assumption that the 50,000 additional students were distributed as at present between schools and further education, and the staffing ratios implied in current public expenditure plans were maintained for the whole of the age group, and that the expansion took place entirely in areas where appropriate spare physical capacity existed, the cost of expansion might be of the order of £65 million in a full year, 1982–83.
It is not possible to give any estimate of possible compensating savings under the youth opportunities 309W programme. Whilst an increase in staying on in full-time education would probably have some effect on the level of youth unemployment, the effect on the need for provision under the youth opportunities programme is not at all easily quantifiable, and could vary greatly as between areas of the country and types of opportunities available, with consequent unpredictable financial effects. Moreover, any savings would depend on the extent to which young people could be encouraged, in the absence in most cases of any financial incentives, to take advantage of additional educational provision in preference to a place on the programme.
§ Mr. Foster
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the total cost to local eduation authorities in England and Wales of educational maintenance allowances for 16 to 19-year-olds participating in full-time education; and what will be the estimated costs for the next three years.
§ Dr. Boyson
Educational maintenance allowances to school pupils over 16 in England and Wales under section 81 of the Education Act 1944 amounted to £3.7 million in the financial year 1979–80 at outturn prices. Figures of expenditure on discretionary grants to students in further education are not available separately for specific age groups. Estimates of expenditure for the next three years are not available centrally but the Government's expenditure plans allow for relevant provision per pupil-student to be maintained.
§ Mr. Foster
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what would be the total gross costs to local education authorities in England and Wales of paying to 16 to 19-year-olds currently participating in full-time education an educational maintenance allowance equivalent to the level of (a) supplementary benefit and (b) youth opportunities programme allowance.