Education Budgets

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 1:45 pm on 5th June 1996.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mrs Ray Michie Mrs Ray Michie , Argyll and Bute 1:45 pm, 5th June 1996

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met representatives from school boards to discuss local government education budgets. [30085]

Photo of Mr Raymond Robertson Mr Raymond Robertson , Aberdeen South

My right hon. Friend last met representatives of the Scottish School Board Association on 1 April, but local government education budgets were not among the topics they asked to be put on the agenda.

Photo of Mrs Ray Michie Mrs Ray Michie , Argyll and Bute

I think that the Minister should meet those representatives again soon, because school boards throughout Scotland, and particularly in my constituency, are struggling with budget cuts that mean that ordinary things such as the cleaning of windows and taking children to swimming pools cannot be done. In particular, will he meet school boards in Argyll and Bute, and that of Oban high school, where the building project that was supported by the Scottish Office has come to a dead halt? If he does not address those cuts in education, I believe that, very soon, everyone will say that local government reform has been an unmitigated disaster.

Photo of Mr Raymond Robertson Mr Raymond Robertson , Aberdeen South

The hon. Lady talks about cuts, but in setting its budget, Argyll and Bute council has been able to increase its expenditure on services this year by £5.1 million, or almost 5 per cent. above the level that the former regional and district councils budgeted to spend last year. Therefore, although the hon. Lady is quite right to ask certain questions, she is asking the wrong person. She should ask her council what it is doing with the increased resources that are available to it.