HC Deb 04 March 1997 vol 291 c553W
Mr. Gordon Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, pursuant to her answer to the hon. Member for High Peak (Mr. Hendry), of 10 February,Official Report, columns 54–55, (i) what factors underlie the variations in the amounts of money in the general schools budget which are not delegated to schools; [18407]

(2) what assessment she has made of the reasonableness of the amounts of money in the general schools budget which (a) Buckinghamshire and (b) Lancashire chooses not to delegate to schools. [18408]

Mr. Robin Squire

Within the general schools budget, funding is retained centrally by local education authorities for a wide variety of purposes, of which the most significant include capital expenditure; programmes supported by grants for education support and training and other specific grants; home-to-school transport, school meals, and various aspects of special educational needs. A number of these items are generally acknowledged to be particularly difficult to delegate, and in certain cases, known as "mandatory exceptions", delegation is currently forbidden by law.

There may therefore be many reasons why one LEA delegates a higher percentage of its GSB. In the case of the two LEAs referred to in the hon. Member's second question, the most significant factor would appear to be Buckinghamshire's proportionately higher provision for capital expenditure, which is a "mandatory exception".