HC Deb 18 August 1887 vol 319 cc922-3
MR. BUCHANAN (Edinburgh, W.)

asked the Lord Advocate, Under what authority, by Minute or otherwise, the Scotch Education Department decline to give their consent to an application to the Public Works Loan Commissioners for a building loan under Clause 45 of the Education (Scotland) Act of 1872, except on condition that the proposed buildings can be constructed at a less cost than £ 10 per scholar: whether it is a fact that formerly the amount of space required by the Department was eight feet square per scholar, and that that amount has recently been raised to 10 feet square; and, whether the same limit of building expenditure of £10 per scholar is still imposed on school boards, whilst the space to be provided for the scholars has been increased by 25 per cent?

THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. H. A. MACDONALD) (Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities)

The rule of the Education Department to refuse its consent to an application to the Public Works Loan Commissioners where the cost of building, exclusive of the cost of the site, exceeds £10 per scholar, was established under Treasury authority, partly as a safeguard against excessive and unnecessary expenditure, and partly because the funds at the disposal of the Commissioners were not unlimited. This limitation applies only to cases of loans from the Public Works Commissioners, and not to cases where it is proposed to raise the loan in the open market. The accommodation in schools built according to the model plans of the Department was formerly calculated at eight square feet per scholar, and could be provided for less than £10 per head; but when deviations from these plans were sanctioned several years ago, at the request of some of the principal school boards in Scotland, the shape and arrangements of the rooms built according to the new plans rendered it necessary to calculate the space at 10 square feet. The sum of £10 per scholar being amply sufficient to provide accommodation upon the 10 square feet basis, that limit is adhered to.