asked the Minister of Education the capital cost of new school construction and extensions together with the additional school places to be provided in schemes approved since October, 1951; and what was the comparative figure for the period October, 1950 to October, 1951.
Between 1st October, 1951, and 30th September last new schools and other projects for primary and secondary education have been approved to a total value of £28,662,302. These projects will provide altogether 161,470 additional school places. Comparable figures for the period 1st October, 1950, to 30th September, 1951, were £41,520,978 and 210,780 places.
Yes, but I am sure the hon. Gentleman will be glad to know that more school buildings are becoming available because we have started fewer buildings and we are completing them quicker. I am sure the hon. Gentleman will be interested in some figures which I shall give in answer to Question No. 14.
I do not know on what information the hon. Gentleman says that the amount of steel being used is less than it was under a previous Government. All I would say is that we have done more school building this year in the first six months than was done last year.
During the first six months of 1952 capital expenditure totalling about £17.75 million was incurred in respect of work done on major school building projects under construction in England and Wales. The comparable figures for 1950 and 1951 are £9.9 million and £14.6 million respectively.
While thanking my right hon. Friend for the information she has given, may I ask her if she can give an assurance that this very welcome increase is being continued during the second half of this year?
I could not without notice, but, as I have said to the House more than once, what I am trying to do is to get on with buildings that have been started and get them completed instead of having too many started and too few completed.
Yes, but I would like to point out that during the time of my predecessor who found that the building was too extravagant there were reductions, and those reductions are going on.
If the right hon. Gentleman will look at the figures he will find that we are now dealing, in a great many cases, with schools that were started and which could not possibly be completed. If we start too many we shall not get them completed for a long time. Hitherto, it was taking three years to build secondary schools, but I opened one last week which had been built in 18 months.