§ Mr. Bill Walker
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will announce the income scale that will apply to the assisted places scheme in Scotland in school session 1997–98. 
§ Mr. Raymond S. Robertson
For school session 1997–98, I propose to lay regulations before the House in due course providing for progressive parental contribution for one assisted pupil in relation to family income as follows:
Part of relevant income to which the specified percentage applies Parental contribution (percentage) That part, if any, which exceeds £9,969 but does not exceed £10,864 9 That part, if any, which exceeds £10,864 but does not exceed £11,725 12 That part, if any, which exceeds £11,725 but does not exceed £13,481 15 That part, if any which exceeds £13,481 but does not exceed £16,186 21 That part, if any, which exceeds £16,186 but does not exceed £19,712 24 That part, if any, which exceeds £19,712 33
The relevant income scale is open-ended, but the remission can, of course, be given only where the parental contribution is less than the school tuition fee. We do not expect the income scale adjustment to have a significant effect on the proportion of pupils who receive full remission of their fees, currently standing at 47.4 per cent. of the 3,539 pupils assisted in the 1996–97 school session.655W
§ Mr. Walker
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has determined the level of fee remission grant which will be available to parents under the assisted places scheme in school session 1997–98. 
§ Mr. Robertson
Independent schools offer a wider choice and diversity of education with strong traditions of academic attainment, good examination results, sound discipline and a commitment to a wide range of sport and extra curricular activities.
The assisted places scheme provides financial assistance towards tuition fees and certain other costs for children from low income families who would otherwise have not been able to afford the cost of an independent school education for their children. In the current 1996–97 school session, 48 per cent. of the 3,500 pupils being assisted under the scheme come from families whose gross income is less than £9,873 per annum; with 75 per cent. of those pupils coming from families earning £16,000 or less per annum. The assisted places scheme has, since it was introduced in 1981, enabled over 11,000 children from families with low incomes to attend Scottish independent schools.
My right hon. Friend is making £14,131,000 available for fee remission in the 1997–98 school session in response to applications for funds from the 53 schools across Scotland which will participate in the scheme. The table sets out the allocation of fee remission grants to individual schools for the 1997–98 school session. It will be for each participating school to fund as many assisted places as can be afforded from within these allocated amounts, but we estimate that this total should be sufficient to fund around 3,800 places in the 1997–98 school session, maintaining our commitment to the expansion of the scheme.
Assisted places scheme 1997–1998 allocation of fee remission grant School Proposed allocation (£) Aberlour School 52,000 Albyn School 125,000 Ardvreck School 38,000 Beaconhurst School 110,000 Belhaven Hill School 30,000 Belmont House School 167,000 Butterstone School 33,000 Cademuir International School 5,000 Cargilfield School 29,000 Clifton Hall School 40,000 Craigclowan School 38,000 Craigholme School 168,000 Croftinloan School 61,000 Dollar Academy 284,000 Edinburgh Academy 351,000 Fernhill School 103,000 Fettes College 273,000 George Heriot's School 795,000 George Watson's College 860,000 Glasgow Academy 245,000 Glenalmond College 397,000 Gordonstoun School 213,000 Hamilton College 96,000 High School of Dundee 795,000 High School of Glasgow 174,000 Hutchesons' Grammar School 641,000 Keil School 281,000 Kelvinside Academy 475,000
Assisted places scheme 1997–1998 allocation of fee remission grant School Proposed allocation (£) Kilgraston School 355,000 Lathallan School 34,000 Laurel Park School 600,000 Lomond School 285,000 Loretto School 250,000 Merchiston Castle School 400,000 Morrison's Academy 578,000 New School, Butterstone 28,000 New Park School 35,000 Park Lodge School 24,000 Rannoch School 225,000 Robert Gordon's College 265,000 Rudolf Steiner School, Edinburgh 336,000 St. Aloysius College 583,000 St. Columba's School 130,000 St. Denis and Cranley School 158,000 St. George School 257,000 St. Leonard's School 240,000 St. Margaret's School, Aberdeen 62,000 St. Margaret's School, Edinburgh 336,000 St. Mary's School, Melrose 36,000 Stewart's Melville College and the Mary Erskine School 1,300,000 Strathallan School 353,000 Wellington School 382,000 Total 14,131,000