HC Deb 04 March 1988 vol 128 cc717-8W
Mr. Straw

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the estimated cost to local authorities of meeting, by 1 September 1991, the standards laid down in the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1981; whether he is making any special arrangements to meet those costs; and if he will make a statement on progress in meeting the provisional arrangements required by the regulations.

Mr. Kenneth Baker

Table 16 of the survey of school buildings, published last November, presented the following national estimates of the cost of meeting statutory accommodation requirements and the main structural requirements most directly attributable to the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1981. Costs were shown in ranges because of the sampling error in grossing up from the survey data. The estimates must be treated with caution.

Primary cost range Secondary cost range
£ million £ million
Statutory accommodation requirements (recreation area, playing fields teaching area, staff accommodation and other requirements) 240–450 150–300
Main structural requirements related to regulations (structure, roofs, walls, windows, heating and other essential services) 360–490 270–370


1. The estimates relate to schools expected to remain on the same site, ie more than 80 per cent. of the sample.

2. Estimates were prepared by grossing up the sample to the total population of county and voluntary controlled schools. While the sample of 392 primary and 403 secondary schools is considered reasonably representative, the relative smallness of the sample means that the sampling error is considerable for many categories of cost.

3. The estimates are at November 1985 prices.

Since the survey was carried out in the early part of 1986, local authorities have undertaken a substantial number of projects to improve school buildings. The programme of capital expenditure which I announced in November last year should enable local education authorities and voluntary bodies to spend more than £750 million over the next three years on projects to improve school buildings, and authorities will no doubt make use of the flexibilities open to them—for example, through the use of capital receipts — to increase spending on improvements still further where they consider it appropriate to do so. Within the increased provision, I have allocated £55 million in 1988–89 specifically to help LEAs to tackle the accumulated deficiencies identified by the survey and to allow voluntary school governors to continue the programme of replacement and improvement begun last year. I have also increased provision for local authority spending on repairs and maintenance by about £120 million in 1988–89, some 40 per cent. above spending in 1985–86.