§ MR. TALBOT (Oxford University)
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the terms of the Reference to the Royal Commission on Secondary Education would enable them to have regard to the conditions upon which the existing sources of revenue from endowment have been hitherto attached to particular forms of teaching, whether religious or otherwise?
THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Mr. ACLAND,) York, W.R., Rotherham
(who replied) said: It lies with the Commission to interpret the Reference which has been made to it, and I am unable to give any information on this point. I cannot doubt that they would consider any communication the hon. Gentleman may think right to make to them.
VISCOUNT CRANBORNE (Rochester)
May I ask whether the terms of the Reference to the Commission were not agreed upon on the advice of Her Majesty's Government, and why the Government cannot therefore state their intentions?
When a Reference has been made to a Royal Commission it lies with the Royal Commission to deal with the matter.
It is obvious that the Government must have meant something, and the question I venture to put is this: The Government gave certain advice to Her Majesty, under which the Royal Commission is issued. Did they intend that the Commissioners should have power to inquire not only as to the amount of endowments, but as to the circumstances surrounding them? There is a vast number of these secondary education endowments wholly devoted to the purposes of religious education, and the Reference is a matter of extreme importance to them. Unless the terms of the Reference are made clear, all 1584 the investigations of the Commission will probably be useless.
The Reference is perfectly clear, and has been made in perfect good faith. The Royal Commission is the body to interpret the Reference.