The Government are spending £23 billion on school buildings to create 600,000 new school places by 2021, open 500 new free schools, and address essential maintenance needs. Supporting local authorities in their responsibility to ensure sufficient school places in their area is one of our top priorities. North Yorkshire received £12 million in funding for new school places between 2011 and 2015 and has been allocated a further £40 million to create the further places required by 2018.
Across North Yorkshire we are seeing a 10% increase in the demand for primary school places, and many of my constituents are concerned that we provide the infrastructure to meet rising populations and the increased numbers of houses being built. Will the Minister confirm that the capital funding will be provided to meet that ongoing demand for new places?
As I said, the Department has allocated £40 million to North Yorkshire for places required by 2015. This is based on the local authority’s own forecast of how many places it will need. We encourage local authorities to negotiate significant developer contributions for new places where they result from developments. I would be delighted to meet my hon. Friend to discuss this matter in more detail. Perhaps, through him, I can persuade North Yorkshire County Council to encourage more free school applications.[Official Report, 1 February 2016, Vol. 605, c. 5-6MC.]