May I congratulate the Secretary of State on accepting the advice of the people of London to have a directly elected body to run education in central London? Why have the Government not listened to the people over the GLC as well? Will the Secretary of State now join me in congratulating all those who campaigned to retain a directly elected democratic body in inner London, the parents, all those who work in schools and ILEA itself, on a major victory?
Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether any of the boroughs within inner London will be allowed to opt out or have any powers of veto? Will he confirm that the financial arrangements for the new, democratically elected body are to remain the same as those set out in the White Paper, "Streamlining the Cities"? Will he confirm that he now accepts that inner London has extra costs in running education in the centre of a major capital city and that the authority is not a profligate spender but achieves educational excellence as a result of a sound financial policy? Will he also confirm that it was one of only six authorities out of about 100 which had a clean bill of health from Her Majesty's inspectors?
Finally, will the right hon. Gentleman explain to the House what will happen in inner London over the next three years? Is it true that there will be three separate administrations in three years, in that the present body will continue until May 1985, to be succeeded by a transitional body for one year, which will be replaced on the introduction of a new body from May 1986? Are the Government expecting all these bodies to implement cuts in education spending? Does he accept that the rate-capping measure will give all three bodies an extremely difficult task? Is he aware that the sharing of responsibility among the three bodies is likely to cause administrative chaos? Surely it would be far better to allow ILEA at least to continue until the new body is elected.