asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how much was spent per pupil in secondary schools in Scotland in the most recent year for which figures are available.
Local authority current expenditure on secondary schools, at outturn prices, excluding items such as meals and milk, was £1,016 per pupil in 1980–81, the highest in real terms that it has ever been.
In so far as there is a connection between educational standards and the amount spent on education, does my hon. Friend agree that this figure clearly shows that there is no reason for any reduction in educational standards in secondary schools in Scotland?
I agree with my hon. Friend. As the pupil-teacher ratio is at its best ever, we shall be looking for improved performance rather than for anything else.
Will the Minister concede that it is a tribute to the staff that standards are being maintained? Is he aware that expenditure on books has gone down by 20 per cent. over the last five years and that the books in most school libraries, if theSunday Standard is to be believed, are in tatters?
There is no justification whatever for any local authority in Scotland not making proper provision for books for its pupils. The number of pupils is declining substantially, but the amount included in the rate support grant for school books is being increased.