Orders of the Day — Educational Expenditure (Priorities)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th April 1951.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Angus Maude Mr Angus Maude , Ealing South 12:00 am, 17th April 1951

The hon. Member will appreciate—at least he would appreciate it if he looked at the facts—that that is not true. In any case, in this debate and in any debate of this kind, if we look at the question with our heads permanently over our shoulders, looking back at the past, we are not likely to get very far in deciding what is to be done about the problems of the present.

I would ask the Minister to tell us what are his prospects of solving his problems in the primary school field? We know what they are and we sympathise with him very much. Will he get the number of places required by 1953, and if so, how? In the debate last July the Minister rather qualified the optimistic promises of his Parliamentary Secretary that the places would be found by saying that he was not quite sure whether they would all be found in the places where they were needed. That is precisely the problem we are most worried about. In the towns and cities, in London, for example, and in some of the blitzed cities, the problems are extremely serious, and we are not quite sure how these places are to be found.

Again, are these places to be found simply by transferring the pressure on places in bulk from the primary to the secondary stage after 1953? If there is any real danger of these places not being found, and the Minister will appreciate that there are in many areas a substantial number of children of five years of age who are not being found places now. That is a serious matter. We want to know approximately how many there are; because the Minister will appreciate that if the argument is taken to its logical conclusion there might come a point at which the number will become so large that it should be recognised officially, and it should be said, "We cannot admit children until they are 5½ years old."