Orders of the Day — Educational Expenditure (Priorities)

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

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Photo of Mr Ralph Morley Mr Ralph Morley , Southampton, Itchen 12:00 am, 17th April 1951

I do not accept the hon. Gentleman's hypothesis that there is only a limited amount available for education. As a matter of fact, the expenditure on education has been increased from year to year, and provided the Labour Government remain in office, provided we still have a Labour Minister of Education, I hope to see it continue to increase. I do lot think it will be necessary to increase the expenditure upon one stage of education by reducing the expenditure on another stage. That is far too like feeding the dog on a piece of its own tail. I hope that that will not commend itself to our present Minister of Education.

The whole question, I think, is one of finance. It is one of how much of the nation's resources it is willing to devote to the cause of education. I may say that I do not remember, during the past 50 years, that any Member of the Conservative Party in the House has ever produced a Motion regretting overcrowding in our schools or the too large size of classes. I do not say that hon. Members opposite are hypocritical, but it appears to me that it is quite a newly found interest which they have on the subject. They appear to have journeyed to Damascus and seen the vision.

I hope that hon. Members opposite will continue to carry that vision with them, and will continue to press for a reduction in the size of classes. But, from the experience of the past, I am quite convinced that there will be far more chance of securing a reasonable reduction in the size of school classes in this country if the present Labour Government is succeeded by another Labour Government.