Health and Education

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 31st January 2001.

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Photo of Mr Jon Owen Jones Mr Jon Owen Jones Labour/Co-operative, Cardiff Central 12:00 am, 31st January 2001

What recent discussions he has had with Secretaries in the Welsh Assembly about health and education spending in Wales. [146523]

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I regularly meet the Health and Education Secretaries to discuss health and education issues in Wales. Spending in both of those areas is often part of our agenda.

Photo of Mr Jon Owen Jones Mr Jon Owen Jones Labour/Co-operative, Cardiff Central

Is my hon. Friend aware that I have received representations from head teachers in my constituency, members of staff and governors, who believe that they have been unfairly treated in the payment, particularly the direct payment, of moneys to schools in Wales? They look across the border and see large sums being spent directly in schools in England, and they believe that they have been unfairly treated. Will my hon. Friend raise these matters with the Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning when he next meets her?

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. The £1.35 billion extra for health and the £551 million for education that the Government have given the National Assembly are significant. My hon. Friend raises an important issue about the expenditure and distribution of those funds, and I will discuss the matter with the Minister in the Assembly shortly, when I next meet her.

Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton Conservative, Macclesfield

Following the decision of the Scottish Executive last week about the funding of social care for the elderly, what discussions has the Minister held with the Welsh Assembly and Ministers in Wales about the unfairness to elderly people in Wales, let alone those in England?

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

Those matters will form part of our on-going discussions with the National Assembly about the implications of the Scottish decision. The £551 million for education and £1.35 billion for health that the Government have allocated would not be available if the hon. Gentleman's party came to power. Let us not talk about semantics. His party is committed to cutting that resource. Our party is committed to investing that money. Whatever else happens with the health service, under this Government there is more money in Wales for the health service there.

Photo of Chris Ruane Chris Ruane Labour, Vale of Clwyd

What measures can my hon. Friend take to ensure that education in Wales serves industry so that we have people with the right skills to take advantage of the jobs that will come to Wales?

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

I know that my hon. Friend battles hard for his constituency and for employment. Local authorities will use the more than £500 million extra for education in Wales to build up skills. I reiterate the important point that the money would not be available if the official Opposition were in government. They would cut those resources for Wales.