§ Order for Committee read.
§ MR. RAMSAY
moved—That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to extend the provisions of the Act to Scotland generally, so far as to provide for an efficient audit of the accounts of school boards, and to enable school boards either to lease or to accept the transfer of certain existing schools.His reason for moving this Instruction was briefly this—that in the Scotch Education Act they had not at present any means of checking the accounts of school boards, and they had not in the Act of 1872 the same facilities for leasing or transferring existing denominational schools which were enjoyed under the English Act. Under the Act of 1870 the school boards were entitled to make arrangements under which they might lease or transfer existing schools on terms to be approved of by the Education Department, and his desire was that the same should be extended to Scotland, for the purpose of enabling the school boards to obtain the use of existing schools, and to relieve the ratepayers of the expense of providing other schools.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to extend the provisions of the Act to Scotland generally, so far as to
provide for an efficient audit of the accounts of school boards, and to enable school boards either to lease or to accept the transfer of certain existing schools."—(Mr. Ramsay.)
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
regretted that this Bill had been brought on at a time when neither the Lord Advocate nor the Vice President of the Council (Viscount Sandon) was in his place. He might say, however, that he understood the introduction of this Bill was sanctioned by the Government on the distinct understanding that it should not apply to any other parts of Scotland than Sutherland and Caithness, and that the Scotch Education Act, as a whole, should not be touched. The engagement of the Government to support this Bill was strictly limited to its provisions as they now stood, and if the Instruction of the hon. Member were carried, it would be the duty of the Government to oppose the further progress of the Bill.
§ MR. ORR-EWING
hoped that the Instruction would be agreed to—because it was a great mistake in the Act of 1872 that there was any exception. He had the misfortune to be connected with a parish where the valuation was very small, and the number of children very large, the valuation being £5,800 and the number of children over 300. They were obliged to build school accommodation for these children, and they were already assessed at 11d. in the pound, and he believed this would have to be increased to 1s. 1d. or 1s. 2d. Was it fair or just, therefore, that a school parish should be burdened with an assessment like this, when parishes in Sutherland and Caithness, which were far more able to pay, should be let off with 9d.? He looked upon it as most unjust, and hoped before long they would have an amendment of the Scotch Education Act, and that all parishes which were paying above a certain rate should be exempted. The idea of exempting the whole counties of Sutherland and Caithness, however, was absurd, when they knew that they were able to pay. He hoped the House would either agree to the Instruction or not allow this Bill to proceed further.
§ MR. RAMSAY
said, after the distinct statement of the Secretary of the Treasury, that in the event of the Motion being carried the Government would oppose the further progress of the Bill, 1937 he would ask the leave of the House to withdraw his Amendment.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
§ MR. VANS AGNEW
rose to move that the House go into Committee on the Bill this day three months—when—It being ten minutes before Seven of the clock, the Debate was adjourned till To-morrow