§ MR. J. G. TALBOT
asked the Vice President of the Committee of Council, Whether his attention has been called to the Report of the Finance Committee of the London School Board, from which it appears that the current account of that Board was, at the present moment, overdrawn to the amount of £130,000, and further that, after the receipt of all the precepts due at Michaelmas next, the account would still be overdrawn about £38,000; whether he could state to the House the causes which have led to this result; and, whether Her Majesty's Government intend to take any steps to prevent the recurrence of such a breach of duty?
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Mr. E. STANHOPE)
I have asked the London School Board to furnish me with a reply to the Question of the hon. Member, and I have received from them the following:—At the date of the Report of the Finance Committee (July 28) the current account—including cheques to be drawn on the 30th of Lily—was overdrawn to the amount of £159,941. The Board would have to borrow this amount for a short time from their balance on capital account, which on the 30th of July amounted to £230,884. The current account would not have been overdrawn but for the fact that precepts to the amount of £219,196 which were due on the 24th of June previous had not up to the 30th of July been paid by the vestries and district boards. The statement that, after the receipt of all the precepts due at Michaelmas next, the current account would still be overdrawn by about £38,000, is duo to a misapprehension. The statement should have been that on the 8th. of October next the current account would still be overdrawn to the extent of £38,000, or perhaps £40,000, supposing all the precepts due at Midsummer last to have been then paid. But at Michaelmas next precepts to the amount of £261,341 will become due, and payments will at once begin to be made to the Board. This statement appears to me to be extremely unsatisfactory. The School Board appear to be applying money which they have bor- 1055 rowed from the Metropolitan Board of Works for a specific purpose to balance a deficit on the current account. But the Government have no power to interfere in any way.