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Education Expenditure (Prime Minister's Speech)

Volume 888: debated on Tuesday 11 March 1975

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asked the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of his public speech on educational spending on the 21st February at the opening of the Lipman Building of the Newcastle-on-Tyne Polytechnic.

I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend did so on 24th February, Sir.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in that speech the Prime Minister talked of education spending overtaking expenditure on defence? Will he assure the House that this does not mean that the present euphoria resulting from the Prime Minister's latest visit to Moscow will lead to another massive cut in defence expenditure?

There is no connection at all between the very successful visit of my right hon. Friends to Moscow and the Defence White Paper.

Will my right hon. Friend accept from me that he and I very much welcome the visit of the Prime Minister to Newcastle-on-Tyne? Will he also confirm that a section of my right hon. Friend's speech dealt with the Open University? Does he agree about the great value of the university in educational terms to this country and, indeed, to the rest of the world, and think that it should have a high priority in Government policy?

Indeed, like my hon. Friend, I listened to my right hon. Friend's speech, which I thought excellent,.especially the passage which dealt with the Open University, particularly since my wife obtained a degree at that university I thought it was a first-rate speech.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many of the educational advisory services duplicate the work of Her Majesty's inspectors and overlap with the work of the county education officers, and that there is great scope for a saving in money and staff on some services? Does he agree that many of those engaged in those services would do much better work as teachers?

Speaking personally— my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science is not here and therefore I am venturing my own opinion— I agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I think there is a case for examining the whole field of advisory services, and also a case for local authorities getting together to provide advisory services. There is a good deal in what the right hon. and learned Gentleman said.