§ 29. Mr. Goodhart
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what action he proposes to take to obtain an increase in expenditure on school books and equipment made by those local education authorities whose expenditure is well below the national average.
§ Mrs. Shirley Williams
The Plowden Report made certain recommendations on this subject, and my right hon. Friend is now awaiting the comments of the local authority and teachers' associations.
§ Mr. Goodhart
Does the Minister recollect that the Plowden Committee suggested that it would cost between £500,000 and £1 million to bring the laggard local education authorities up to an acceptable standard? Does she think that this will happen unless there is the strongest lead from the centre?
§ Mrs. Williams
As the hon. Member will be aware, the amount spent is within the discretion of local education authorities. The Plowden Report devoted itself to giving greater discretion to individual schools in the matter of expenditure on books. It is not appropriate to take the answer further until we have heard the views of the local education authorities on the Plowden recommendations.