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Block Grant System

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th May 1957.

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Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East 12:00 am, 9th May 1957

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education if he will make a further statement about the operation of the block grant system in relation to the education services.

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

I cannot yet add to what I said in the debate on 5th April.

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that there is a great deal of anxiety on the point, and can he give any indication that the Government are going to clarify the situation?

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

No, I cannot say more today. I did explain on 5th April that details of the proposed new grant system are at present being discussed with the representatives of the local authorities. In due course, a full statement of the Government's proposals will be published for discussion both in this House and outside, but I cannot go into further details today.

Photo of Mr Michael Maitland Stewart Mr Michael Maitland Stewart , Fulham

Does the hon. Gentleman remember that on 18th March, the Minister of Housing and Local Government, in a Written Answer to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison), stated that if the block grant system were in operation now, there would be £280 million of the percentage grant transferred to the block grant system, and that it appears from an Answer which he gave on 6th March to my hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) that out of that £280 million, £259 million would be grants for education. Therefore, as this proposal seems to be, as regards nine-tenths of its content, an educational proposal, is it not important that he should soon give us further particulars about it?

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

I think the hon. Gentleman is tempting me to embark on a type of debate which we cannot have at this stage, but I fully recognise the importance of this question.

Photo of Mr Stanley Awbery Mr Stanley Awbery , Bristol Central

Will the hon. Gentleman give an assurance that education in our cities will not be affected by the changeover to the block grant system?

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

I would ask the hon. Member to look carefully at the points which I made in the debate on this subject on 5th April.