The pattern of major growth in the area has yet to be determined, but, when the need for new school places is established, my right hon. Friend will take it into account in making allocations of capital investment for school building.
Is it not deplorable that the people of Irvine, who have cooperated so well with their local council in inducing industry to come to their area and who have welcomed and assimilated Glasgow overspill, should now have resentment aroused among parents because of a severe shortage of school places? Will the noble Lady examine the problem again with a view to allowing Ayr County Council to go ahead, that council being able and willing to provide the school places provided that it gets extra authorisation from the Government?
Could the noble Lady accompany me to my constituency this weekend? Is she aware that, each weekend, I have to interview parents who very much resent the fact that there is no room for their children in the secondary schools, and that they have to travel to other overcrowded schools in order to find accommodation, and some are not being allowed to start their education at 5 years of age?
I appreciate the hon. Gentleman's invitation. Perhaps we can discuss it at some time. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that, when the secondary schools are completed, accommodation will be released for primary schools. Therefore, the situation will then be very much better.
The noble Lady will be aware that this town has been hard hit in the past by loss of schools by fire, apart from anything else. The last census showed an increase of population of nearly 15 per cent., and since that time Irvine has adopted an overspill agreement with Glasgow and has received new people. Will the noble Lady look into the matter again, realising that there are pressing education problems in Irvine?
I said in my original reply that we have not yet entirely assessed school needs in the area as a growth point. A detailed technical assessment is being made, and when the report comes we shall know more accurately what is required.