§ Mr. Madden
To ask the Secretary of State for Education (I) what arrangements are in place to enable a school to which he grants voluntary-aided status to repay private loans made to enable urgent capital works to be undertaken before his decision on the school's voluntary-aided status application was announced;
(2) what discretion he has to make loans to voluntary aided schools in respect of initial capital expenditure; what discretion he has to make loans to schools applying for voluntary aided status where applications are regarded by his Department as viable and deserving approval; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Forth
My right hon. Friend has no power to provide a loan to promoters of proposed new voluntary aided schools to assist with costs incurred on capital work carried out before the decision on the statutory proposals has been made.
If proposals to establish a new voluntary aided school are approved, the promoters may apply for a loan under section 105 of the Education Act 1994 to assist them with their share of capital costs to provide the site or buildings for the new school. The site and buildings project plans and costs, which would be scrutinised by the Department's architects, would require the prior approval of the Secretary of State. A loan may be granted subject to availability of funds, the approval of building plans and the acceptance of a statisfactory loan agreement.