§ Mr. Michael Brown
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will issue guidelines to local authorities encouraging them to use outside contractors for the provision of school meals and for school cleaning with the object of providing additional resources for the provision of textbooks and other school equipment.
§ Dr. Boyson
It must be for individual local authorities to decide how best to spend the resources available to them within their statutory obligations and to judge whether outside contractors would offer better value for money in the provision of a particular service. We would hope, however that local authorities will consider all the possibilities for reducing the cost of services such as school meals, including the use of outside contractors, since the extent to which they are able to secure savings in these areas reduces the pressure on expenditure on the provision more directly related to classroom teaching.