Building Programme (Teacher Training and Further Education Projects)

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th December 1965.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Harold Gurden Mr Harold Gurden , Birmingham, Selly Oak 12:00 am, 9th December 1965

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the number and location of building projects for the expansion of teacher training, the star, of which has been deferred by six months.

Photo of Mr Reginald Eyre Mr Reginald Eyre , Birmingham, Hall Green

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science to what extent the further education building programme in England and Wales is being affected by the Government's decision to defer the start of capital projects by six months.

Photo of Dr Wyndham Davies Dr Wyndham Davies , Birmingham, Perry Barr

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what is the number and location of further education building projects, the start of which as been deferred by six months;

(2) to what extent the building programme for colleges of education in England and Wales is affected by the Government's decision to defer the start of capital projects by six months.

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

My Department's Circular No. 12/65, copies of which I am sending to the hon. Members, set out the detailed application of the restrictions on capital expenditure announced on 27th July last.

I cannot say which individual projects would have started in any given period if restrictions had not been imposed, but I estimate that in England and Wales teacher training projects to the value of £5 million and further education projects to the value of £9 million, which would have started in the period August to January, 1966, have been deferred.

Photo of Mr Harold Gurden Mr Harold Gurden , Birmingham, Selly Oak

In view of all the statements that have been made by the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues, does he not realise that there ought not to be any deferments in building teacher training colleges if we are to get the number of teachers so badly needed?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I realise two things. First, we should all be in a much better position had we not inherited a £800 million deficit. Secondly, despite the deferments of which the hon. Member is aware, the capital investment programme for colleges of education has risen from £1·5 million in 1959–60 to £5·5 million this year.

Photo of Dr Wyndham Davies Dr Wyndham Davies , Birmingham, Perry Barr

May I suggest to the Minister that that is a most unsatisfactory reply?

Photo of Sir Rolf Williams Sir Rolf Williams , Exeter

Does not the right hon. Gentleman believe that it would be much better to allow these teacher training colleges to go on and to encourage them than for the Minister of Health to waste public money by abolishing prescription charges?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

As to the encouragement of colleges of education, the hon. Member may have noticed that they admitted 29,000 students this year compared with 24,000 last year.

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

Do not the figures the right hon. Gentleman has announced show a very serious situation as £9 million is more than one-third of the total programme for technical colleges and £5 million is more than half the annual building programme for colleges of education? Is he aware that we on this side of the House are certainly proud of the fact that we approved £60 million worth of building starts for training colleges in the last Parliament and, in view of the tremendous efforts which they are making, we believe it an unhappy choice of priorities to make these very considerable cuts in the programme?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

Of course it is a serious situation in which the country finds itself at the moment, but what the right hon. Member must do is to search his conscience and ask himself whether, given the situation which he and his party bequeathed to us, we could have got away without doing more.

Photo of Mr Reginald Eyre Mr Reginald Eyre , Birmingham, Hall Green

Is the Minister aware that setbacks in technical education in particular are damaging to our long-term economic prosperity?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I am extremely conscious of the importance of technical education to long-term economic prospects. For that reason, the capital investment figures for technical education given in the National Plan show a rate of investment over the next four years roughly double that of the last four years.

Photo of Dr Wyndham Davies Dr Wyndham Davies , Birmingham, Perry Barr

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I intend to raise this matter on the Adjournment.