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Minor Works

Volume 649: debated on Thursday 23 November 1961

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asked the Minister of Education how soon he expects some loosening of the temporary restrictions of minor works announced as a result of Circular 13/61.

The allocations announced under Circular 13/61 cover a period of eighteen months ending on 31st March, 1963. The allocations for the 1963–64 period will be decided next year, as part of the annual review of the public sector investment programmes.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this decision to put into eighteen months a smaller sum than is usually allocated for one year is having an extremely adverse effect on the moder- nisation of some of our older primary schools? When this present period of restriction is over, will he look into the question of giving some special assistance to these older primary schools and to those local education authorities which are trying to make special efforts in this direction?

Does not the Minister agree that the bad effects of this economy outweigh the saving made? This is a comparatively minor saving, which is causing enormous disturbance in education. Will the right hon. Gentleman see that it is restored earlier, and that the Treasury does not resort to its customary interference with our educational service?

The situation is not quite as bad as the hen. Gentleman thinks. We have freed from all control jobs under£2,000, which are now known as the "mini-minor jobs", and which add up to quite a lot of money.