§ Mr. Deakins
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what has been the trend in real terms for expenditure on books, and other educational aids in maintained schools since 1945.
§ Dr. Boyson
The available data do not permit a precise examination of the trend prior to 1974, although there appears to have been a real increase in total expenditure and expenditure per pupil on books from the 1950s up to that date. Since 1974, English local authorities' total expenditure on books and equipment has fallen in real terms, in part at least because of the decline in pupil numbers. Expenditure per pupil between 1974–75 and 1980–81 is estimated to have fallen by 9½ per cent. in primary schools and by about 17½ per cent. in secondary schools. As announced by my right hon. Friend on 21 December 1981, the rate support grant settlement allows for an additional expenditure of £20 million on books and equipment in 1982–83 provided that authorities contain the increase in their costs within the Government's assumptions for pay and price inflation. This should be sufficient to restore their levels of provision on books and equipment to those applying in 1978–79.