HC Deb 21 December 1888 vol 332 cc954-5
MR. MUNDELLA (Sheffield, Brightside)

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If he is now able to remove the uncertainty and embarrassment of the Provincial Colleges, by publishing his scheme for Grants in Aid; and, whether, in consideration of the delay which has already taken place, and the pecuniary position of several Colleges, he will provide that the grants shall take effect from the 1st of January next?


I am not yet able to make any statement as to the particulars of a scheme for Grants in Aid to University Colleges in the Provinces. In any case, it would not be possible for the grants to take effect from the 1st of January next, as they will be included in the Estimates for the financial year 1889–90, which does not commence till the 31st of March, nor can the grants be of such amounts as to retrieve the position of any College which is in serious financial embarrassment. Government grants, though they will be a valuable addition, can in no case be, and are not intended to be, an effective substitute for local contributions, which must always bear the greater share of the burden. With respect to the scheme in general, I am anxious to state that any delay which has arisen is due entirely to the number and importance of the subjects competing for the attention of the Government during the present Session. We regard grants to Local Colleges as a step of great importance, and possibly of far-reaching effects. It was absolutely impossible to propose a scheme without the most careful consideration of its bearings, more especially the proportions in which and the conditions on which any assistance from Imperial funds should be given to Local Institutions for higher class education. It is not from any neglect of the matter, but rather from our sense of its extreme importance, that we have not yet been able to formulate our proposal, although we hope to do so at a very early date.