The total value of school building work under construction at 31st May, 1964, the latest date for which information is available, was £44·illion, the highest figure so far achieved.
Over how many years is this figure spread? Does it include the two technical colleges, in Ayr and in Kilmarnock, which were first given highest priority in 1955 but which have not yet been completed?
My right hon. Friend has accepted a recommendation of the Local Government Finance (Scotland) Working Party that the general grant distribution formula which has applied since 1959 should continue unaltered until the review of local government finance which is now in progress has been completed. The Working Party rejected the suggestion that special financial provision for school building is needed by local authorities with a new town in their boundaries.
Does not the noble Lady realise that those authorities in Scotland which have new towns are finding it very difficult to provide the schools which the rest of the child population desperately need? Is she aware that the provision of schools in East Kilbride new town and the big development in Bishop-briggs, providing schools for pupils who previously had no connection with Lanarkshire, is starving the rest of Lanarkshire of schools? May I emphasise once again that, if I had a child allocated to one of these schools in Lanarkshire outside the two new towns, some of which are in a scandalous condition, I would go to gaol before my child would enter it?
In Dunbartonshire we have the new town of Cumbernauld and Kirkintilloch has an overspill agreement with Glasgow which is working very successfully, but education in Dunbartonshire and the provision of schools is very difficult indeed. Will the noble Lady look into the matter again and see to it that in Dunbartonshire particularly some extra help is given for the county school programme?
Surely, the noble Lady must have been convinced by what has been shown in debate after debate, that there is a great distorting factor here in the provision which must be made within a county for a new town. Will she reconsider this business? How long is the Review to take? Are we to be bound by a recommendation made by a Working Party if we ourselves have no great confidence in its ability adequately to deal with this matter? Why cannot this be separated and dealt with now, since the problem is here?
The major local authority associations were represented on the Working Party. I said in answer to an earlier Question that the present amount of school building under construction in Scotland is a record.