§ Mr. Peter Thurnham
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received about capital grant allocations for schools in Bolton; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Alan Howarth
Since the announcement last December of LEAs' annual capital guidelines and capital allocations for voluntary aided and grant-maintained schools in 1990–91, my right hon. Friend has received representations about capital expenditure in Bolton from four constituents of my hon. Friend; two constituents of my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, West (Mr. Sackville); and one from a constituent of the hon. Member for Bolton, South-East (Mr. Young). The director of education and arts for the metropolitan borough of Bolton has also written to my right hon. Friend on behalf of the authority's education and arts committee about the level of the authority's annual capital guideline for 1990–91. Finally, the governors of one primary and two high schools in Bolton have made representations directly to my right hon. Friend on the same matter.
Nationally, annual capital guidelines (ACGs) for LEA expenditure in 1990–91 total £485 million; under the old funding system, the figure for capital allocations in the current year, 1989–90, is £352 million. Authorities are free within the flexibilities of the Local Government Acts to spend above the level of their ACGs from capital receipts and other sources. The amount available to the voluntary aided sector has increased from £86 million in 1989–90 to £109 million in 1990–91. For grant-maintained schools £8.5 million has been made available in 1990–91.
Bolton local education authority's annual capital guideline for 1990–91 was £802,000. The capital allocation for the voluntary aided sector in Bolton was £137,000. The capital allocation for St James' CE school in Farnworth, a grant-maintained school, was £667,000.
The split of resources between LEA-maintained, voluntary aided and grant-maintained schools was determined with regard to the relative needs of each sector. Bolton's ACG and its voluntary aided allocation reflect the extent to which the authority's plans accorded with my right hon. Friend's criteria. It is entirely for Bolton to decide its spending priorities in the light of local needs and circumstances, and the resources available. The allocation of the available resources for the grant-maintained sector was decided by my right hon. Friend in the light of the particular circumstances of each school, taking into account previous levels of neglect. The total sum of capital grant available to grant-maintained schools in 1990–91 is about one third of the original bids: a very similar proportion to that which can be met by LEAs under their ACGs.