§ Bill, as amended, considered.
§ Clause 1.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out Sub-section ii.—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)
§ Question proposed, "That Sub-section ii. stand part of the Clause."
§ (4.35.) MR. H. H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
I wish a Motion had been made to re-commit the Bill in order that we might briefly discuss the entire re-construction of this Bill which is now going to take place on the Motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I have no wish to delay the House by any unnecessary remarks, but I rise for the purpose of making a final, if an unavailing, protest against what I consider to be the disastrous finance which this clause will now give effect to as altered by the present Amendment. We are no doubt dealing with the last stage of the Bill, and I should like to call attention to the fact that this is the 25th night on which the House has been discussing the financial arrangements of the present year. There is no precedent for this in modern times —at any rate, since the repeal of the Corn Laws. The House has been sitting between 110 and 120 days up to this evening; and, therefore, one fourth of the time of the House of Commons has been consumed in discussing what now turn out to be practically abortive financial proposals. But much more important than this is the principle which the Chancellor of the Exchequer is now asking the House of Commons to put 1560 its seal of approval upon, and this is the enormous additional subvention proposed to be given to the Local Authorities. I have been looking into the figures as they now stand regarding this question. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer has amended this Bill, there will be added for the purpose of local subvention£ 1,300,000; yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer, only two years ago, said that, so far as the Government were concerned, they had shown their whole hand, and they had no further proposals to make. But within two and a half years from the time the right hon. Gentleman made that statement he proposes to take £1,300,000 from what I may call essentially Imperial taxation in order to place it in the hands of the Local Authorities.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! I must remind the right hon. Gentleman that the House is not now discussing the principle of the Bill. He is really delivering a Second Reading speech.
§ MR. H. H. FOWLER
Of course, Sir, I at once bow to your ruling. I only wish to submit that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is now proposing to add £350,000 to the general subvention of the Local Authorities; and I object to that, because I consider that the Local Authorities have already too much. This £350,000 will make the total sum granted this year in aid of local taxation over £9,000,000. I have no wish to deal further with the general question, but I entertain a most strong opinion that these large local subventions are not justified by the state of local-finance; they are premiums upon mismanagement and extravagance; and they revive the old system of subventions in its worst form, because they make the Local Authorities practically reckless as to how the money is spent. In raising a, protest against this enormous additional subvention, I wish to say that arrangements of this kind cannot be regarded as binding, and we shall claim for ourselves the right to re-consider this question when the proper time arrives.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 20, after the word "shall," to insert the words "until Parliament otherwise determine.".—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)1561
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ (4.40.) SIR W. HARCOURT (Derby)
I do not know whether we are to expect any answer from the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer) but I do submit that the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman deserve some notice. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has refrained from answering the speech of my right hon. Friend. We had some discussion on these words when they were proposed to be inserted by the right hon. Gentleman in the clause applicable to Scotland. What is meant by inserting these words? The Chancellor of the Exchequer must have some special object in introducing them. What is it? Do the words apply to the additional duty on beer, or do they not? The other day the right hon. Gentleman told us the object was to impart a flavour of uncertainty. But the whole financial policy of the right hon. Gentleman this year has had such a flavour of uncertainty, that I think it is a work of supererogation to introduce these words. The right hon. Gentleman was good enough to give me credit for having sufficient acuteness to understand the meaning, but I confess I am not entitled to that credit, for I have unsuccessfully endeavoured to define the meaning of introducing the words. In his original Budget the right hon. Gentleman held out a curious hope to the brewers. He said he had half promised to take off the additional tax on beer, and he would fulfil that promise, but he intended to put it on again, and give them the benefit of the proceeds. He did so, but now he has struck out the clause which was to secure the benefit to the brewers. Now, I again ask, do those words apply to the Beer Duty or the extra Spirit Duty? I think we are entitled to hear from the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the uncertainty which these words point to—in short, what is the intention of inserting them?
§ (4.45.) THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN,) St. George's, Hanover Square
The right hon. Gentleman began his observations with a complaint that I had not answered the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton. I am free to be criticised in many things, but I am seldom criticised 1562 for not being ready to take up a challenge that is thrown down. I did not rise to answer the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, because I understood I could not do so without offending against order. The whole of the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman seemed to be directed against the Bill generally, and I could not reply to them without being out of order, otherwise I should have longed to be able to comment on the astounding charge against the Government that this Bill has been discussed for 25 days. I should have liked to refer to some of the minute points which were discussed for hours and hours with a most fearful waste of the time of the House. I shall be called to order by the Speaker if I pursue that topic. In reply to the right hon. Member for Derby I have to say that I have twice dealt with this matter—once in the case of Scotland, and once in the case of Ireland. In the case of Scotland the right hon. Gentleman misunderstood me, and in the case of Ireland he did not hear me at all. The right hon. Gentleman asks, Why are the words introduced here? The answer is that the residue is in a different position now from what it was, and my anxiety has been that Parliament shall not give an absolutely permanent character to the sum which has become available through the dropping of the licensing clauses. The right hon. Gentleman made merry over the phrase used by me, "the flavour of uncertainty"; what I meant was that the Local Authorities should have notice that there is, in the language of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, a prospect of revision as regards that particular sum. It seems to me right that the question should be left open whether there shall be any revision of the additional taxes imposed in consequence of the dropping of a portion of the scheme. That is the object with which the words have been inserted, and I think it more candid to the Local Authorities and to the House generally that such notice should be given.
§ (4.50.) MR. A. ACLAND (York, W.R., Rotherham)
Will the right hon. Gentleman accept the word "unless" instead of "until"?
§ Question put, and agreed to.1563
§ (4.51.) MR. A. ACLAND
In moving the Amendment which stands in my name, I will endeavour to be as brief as possible. The right hon. Gentleman has put down an Amendment which meets the wishes of the people of Wales, and he has done the same for Ireland. The Members for Scotland have to some extent fought out their case. In the case of England, if the Bill passes in its present form it will not contain a word about the definite appropriation of the money for educational purposes. There is nothing beyond the right hon. Gentleman's intimation that by and by some new charges may be thrown on the County Councils in connection with intermediate and technical education. I wish to get rid of some of that uncertainty. While Scotland and Ireland get each a large share of the money set free by the dropping of the licensing proposals, England, if the Bill stand as now, will secure nothing at all, whereas, supposing that England gets the same share as Scotland, she will have nearly £2,000,000, if the same share as Ireland nearly £1,000,000, and if the same share as Wales will assuredly get about £750,000. I think we are putting the cart before the horse. We ought to get free education, but first we must have our District Councils; we ought to have uniform School Boards, and we ought to have a well organised elementary system. Scotland, no doubt, has gone the right way to put the horse before the cart by securing free education first, and when we get our money out of the Exchequer for free education for England, Scotland will put in a claim for another £250,000. It will be impossible to withhold it, and then she can complete her system of secondary and intermediate education. I think the adoption of my Amendment will be a step in the right direction. The local Universities of England have been pleading for grants of money for many years; the Chancellor of the Exchequer has met them with £15,000. The agricultural interest has again and again cried out for assistance towards dairy schools and agricultural teaching; the amount the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been able to give has been £5,000, although Prussia, the population of which is not so great as the United Kingdom, gives ten times that amount 1564 for agricultural education alone. But these sums are perfectly trifling as compared with the amount which the House is compelled to deal with by a kind of side-wind, and which it is now proposed shall disappear into the great river of rates, never perhaps to appear on the surface again. I propose that the money shall be applied under the Technical Instruction Act of last year, and though the machinery of that Act is not the best for the purpose, it is better than none at all. Already some of our large towns have made grants in aid of this education. Manchester has given £4,000 and Bolton £2,000, and nobody can doubt that assistance from the Government would be greatly valued. I have added to my Amendment that the remainder of the moiety, which is not applied, may be an educational endowment within the meaning of the Endowed Schools Act, because I believe that technical education is no good unless based upon a sound general education, and we shall not get a good general secondary education in England until we set to work, as we are now doing in Wales, and establish a network of good, cheap, secondary schools throughout the whole country. The Endowed Schools Commissioners 20 years ago said that even after they had dealt with the whole re-organisation of endowments the work was only begun, and that what was necessary was a systematic provision for secondary instruction. Since then, however, we have never taken a step towards re-organising our secondary education. I may be told that under the Endowed Schools Act this cannot be done at all, but I hold that our experience in Wales shows that it can be done. Our Committees in Wales are largely composed of members of County Councils, and I imagine that the Vice President of the Council and the Chairman of the Endowed Schools Commissioners will not deny that under the existing Endowed Schools Act schemes could be worked out which would develop secondary education in a very excellent way in England. I know it is said that the Charity Commissioners are unpopular, but in my experience they have acted in a cordial, spirit of cooperation with popular bodies like our Committees. The reason they have been unpopular is because they have interfered with local endowments, 1565 but when they are following popular bodies, and not leading, but trying; to assist and help, there is no reason why they should not occupy the position of friendly advisers. I lay stress upon that part of my Amendment which has reference to the complete organisation of intermediate education, because I know the admirable work which has been done in Wales. It will be a great misfortune if the opportunity that now presents itself is not taken advantage of; for if the question is not taken in hand, other business in future Sessions may postpone its settlement indefinitely. Scotland and Wales and Ireland are far better off than England in respect of secondary education, and the consequence is, that this country is being invaded by clever Scotchmen, Welshmen, and Irishmen, in ever-increasing numbers. The hon. Member for Roxburghshire the other day made an allusion to the moderate invasion of English Members into Scotland. Well, I imagine that if we in this country were to raise a cry of. England for the English, and drive out all the Scotchmen who hold important positions of all kinds here, we should return on the hands of the hon. Member and his friends a great many men whom they do not wish to see back again, but who are doing extremely valuable work. As to the question of shifting the burden of the rates and so forth—as if it were the alpha and omega of the progress of the working classes—no doubt a great deal has been done; but if all the dogmas of the Radicals were realised, there would still remain a great deal to be done in the way of elevating the working classes after they have received all the advantages which can be received from elementary education. That the great dock strike last year was conducted so quietly and successfully was mainly due to the fact that the leaders were educated men, capable of studying and understanding economical and industrial questions. It would be well to have thousands more such men. Let the House, therefore, make provision for their education. In England we are in this position: that the wealthy people, who are largely represented in this House, and who are able to send their sens to the great public schools, do not care much about middle-class education. Then we have the elemen- 1566 tary schools, which carry on a useful work; but there is a large middle region which we do not hear much about, which is of the utmost importance, untouched, and it is for the purpose of helping to fill up that gap that I move my Amendment. I admit that the machinery I suggest— namely, some scheme under the Endowed Schools Act and the Technical Instruction Act—is not the best I could desire, but, at the same time, I believe that by these means much good may be done to the working and the middle classes.
Amendment proposed, in page l,line20, at the end of Clause 1, to insert the words—
The council of any such county or county borough may contribute any sum received by such council in respect of the residue under this section, not exceeding a moiety of the residue or any part of that moiety, for the purposes of technical (including agricultural and commercial) education within the meaning of 'The Technical Instruction Act, 1889,' and may make that contribution over and above any sum that may be raised by rate under that Act.
The remainder of the said moiety, which shall not be applied within the meaning of 'The Technical Instruction Act, 1889,' may be an educational endowment within the meaning of the Endowed Schools Acts, and the County Council shall be the governing body of the endowment within the meaning of those Acts."— (Mr. Arthur Acland.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ (5.17.) MR. GOSCHEN
The hon. Member rested his case upon two grounds, one the desirableness of spending this money on intermediate education, as compared with relieving the rates, and the other a contrast between the educational advantages of this country and those of Scotland and Ireland and Wales. Well, I would point out that if, in educational matters, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland are, in some respects, better off than England, this country certainly has the advantage of having greater endowments. In the course of the proceedings on this Bill the hon. Gentleman proposed a somewhat similar Amendment to this. He was anxious that a sum should be absolutely set aside and spent in all cases upon technical education; but he proposes now an Amendment of a much more moderate nature. If the County Councils choose to employ a moiety of the increased resources which are placed at their disposal towards technical, including agri- 1567 cultural and commercial education, within, the meaning of the Technical Instruction Act of 1889, the Government certainly will not wish to place any fetters whatever on their taking such action, and accordingly we shall be prepared to accept the first portion of the Amendment—namely, that the County Councils or the County Boroughs may contribute in respect of the moiety of the residue towards technical, agricultural, or commercial education. The Government are quite as much aware as hon. Members opposite of the desire which is springing up in the country with regard both to technical and agricultural education. The hon. Member speaks of the desirability of assisting agricultural schools. Many hon. Friends of my own behind me have pleaded in the same direction, and have been anxious that the sum placed at the disposal of the authorities for establishing agricultural schools should be increased. Then the hon. Member suggested that a portion of the money should be devoted to inter-mediata education, and he drew a contrast between intermediate and technical education, suggesting that much progress could not be made with technical education without intermediate education. The Technical Instruction Act defines technical instruction as including instruction in the branches of science and art, in respect of which grants are, for the time being, made by the Department of Science and Art, and any other form of instruction, including modern languages and commercial and agricultural subjects, which may, from time to time, be sanctioned by that Department. But we have not got schools organised for the purpose, and that is why I object to the other part of the Amendment. We have an Intermediate Education Act for Wales which, I believe, is operating very beneficially, but we have not worked out such an Act for this country, nor is there any organised system of intermediate education in England. How can the County Councils, with these optional powers, some of them working on one principle and some on another, bring forward an organised system of intermediate education for the country? By passing the first part of the Amendment we do not preclude subsequent consideration of a portion of this money going to intermediate education, and the hon. 1568 Gentleman need not fear that funds for that purpose will be found when an organised plan is established. I should have no objection, on principle, to the second part of the Amendment; but. having carefully considered the way in which this money will be employed, under the terms of the Amendment, without any general organised system, I cannot undertake to accept that portion of the Amendment. I would ask that we should treat the two parts of the Amendment separately, unless the hon. Member, after the readiness I have shown to adopt his views as regards the first part, feels disposed to withdraw the second. The first part runs on all fours with the Amendment I have myself put on the Paper with regard to Wales, and I should be glad if we had a uniform-system, as far as possible, in England and Wales as regards technical education.
§ (5.23.) MR. MUNDELLA (Sheffield, Brightside)
We have all heard with satisfaction of the readiness of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to accept a part of the proposal of my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham. I regret that the right hon. Gentleman does not see his way to accept the whole, and I do not think there are those difficulties with respect to organisation which the Chancellor of the Exchequer seems to foreshadow. Why should it not be possible for the Endowed School Commissioners, upon application from the County Councils, to prepare a scheme for intermediate education as well as for any other subject? In a former Debate on the subject two years ago the Leader of the House promised that what was done for Scotland in respect of intermediate-education, and every branch of education, should he done for England. In Scotland the ordinary schools are not called elementary, but public, schools, and the Government make grants in all these schools for Latin, Greek, Mathematics, and other subjects, which are in themselves part of the curriculum of intermediate education, for which no corresponding grant is made in England. It is the fact that large numbers of the youth of Scotland go from the parochial and public schools direct to the Universities. I am rejoiced that that is so. But why should England be deprived of these advantages? The whole of the 1569 higher schools of Scotland are under the control of the School Board, and they receive grants from the rates for what they call the common fund. I do not say the intermediate education of Scotland is all that Scotchmen desire. They are anxious to have it improved, and they are improving it at an enormous rate, and, as compared with England, they are at an enormous advantage. I doubt whether, according to its population, England has as many endowments as Scotland. The Universities of England have great endowments, but not for intermediate education. Under the Endowed Schools Commission Act of 1883 all the endowments of Scotland have undergone revision, and on the governing bodies of the endowed schools in Scotland there is some public representation. We have nothing corresponding to that in England. Why is it that England should be placed in this disadvantageous position as compared with Scotland? I would ask the First Lord of the Treasury when will he fulfil his promise, made more than two years ago, with respect to intermediate education. The whole of the intermediate and endowed schools in Scotland are examined by examiners appointed by the Scotch Educational Department, and attached to every school there are "leaving certificates," which admit the scholars to a great variety of educational advantages. We have nothing corresponding to that in England. We have no public examinations at the expense of the State, as in Scotland. Now, supposing the first part of the Resolution is to be accepted there are certain words which should be omitted—I mean the words "not exceeding a certain moiety of the residue." These words must undoubtedly come out, so that it would apply to technical, commercial, and agricultural education.
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT or THE COUNCIL (Sir W. HART DYKE,) Kent, Dartford
The hon. Member says that if not the whole of the moiety then that a portion of it shall be used.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
If you take the second proposal, and strike out these words, then you could apply the whole of it to technical, commercial, and agricultural schools. I want to point out to the right hon. Gentleman the importance of adopting the second part of the Resolution. 1570 Nobody knows better than the First Lord of the Treasury the great inequality of endowments in this country. He knows that there are some localities which are positively enriched by endowments, and others in which they have no endowments whatever. But suppose the County Council had power to apply part of the residue to intermediate education, how largely they might extend it. In our large towns, with their rapid growth, it would be an enormous boon if they could have some aid, some beginning of intermediate education. And my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham has pointed out that small State aid is an enormous stimulus for the Local Authority. It always evokes and develops a large amount of local effort. It has already done so in Wales in respect to technical education. With respect to the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that we have no organised intermediate education in England, I must take exception to that. There is scarcely a town in England where the Charity Commissioners have not framed schemes of intermediate education. Why, if there are a thousand or two a year to be devoted to intermediate education, should not the Charity Commissioners enlarge these schemes, and place some members of the County Councils on the governing bodies, and so give increased utility and increased representation at the same time? I do hope that the Government will not, in this respect, place us in a worse position than Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. At present we do not get a farthing grant; but here is the first opportunity the Government have had of rendering some service, and helping forward the work of intermediate education, the great desideratum of the present time. The Government have accepted the first part of my hon. Friend's proposal. I do trust that they will accept the remainder, and that we shall be able to make a start in the way of helping ourselves with intermediate education.
§ *(5.35.) SIR W. HART DYKE
I would like to say one or two words in no contentious spirit. I am perfectly ready to admit that in England we are somewhat at a disadvantage with respect to intermediate education. The greater portion of the speech of the hon. Member 1571 for Rotherham was directed, and fairly, to showing that there was such a deficiency, and it was essentially a speech in favour of an Intermediate Education Act for England. I wish to mention one or two reasons which ought to make the House satisfied with the way in which Her Majesty's Government have met this Amendment. Here is a sum of money to be disposed of. At first the Chancellor of the Exchequer said it would be used for education, and then the hon. Member for Rotherham suggests that it may be applied to technical and intermediate education. Now, I am anxious that we should not accept the second portion of this Amendment, because there is a distinction between it and the first. About the first proposal there is this excellent characteristic, that the machinery is ready to hand. Considering how slow people are to move in matters of education, it is obviously of great advantage to have the machinery ready to hand. What is happening with regard to our Technical Instruction Act? It is at work, and it has been taken up warmly in most of our large industrial centres, Manchester, Sheffield, Burnley, Rochdale, Stockport, Macclesfield, Maidstone, Rotherham, Wakefield, Bingley, Bolton, Nottingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Blackburn, Reading, and many other places, where Committees have been at work some time to bring it into active operation. I am now merely pleading for the best use that can be made to-day of this money. All this is going on already with regard to secondary education and technical instruction, and why, therefore, should we not have this money applied swiftly? What is the initial difficulty? The initial difficulty is getting a lump sum for building purposes. Most of these localities will face the rate necessary for the maintenance of an institution, but they will not undertake the initial expenditure which is required to obtain a building. Now, this sum of money will precisely fit into the groove, precisely fill up the gap, and furnish to these localities the amount of the initial expenditure which I think can be most usefully and beneficially applied. I am willing to concede that it is possible to frame an Intermediate Education Act for England, as has been done in Wales, and no man in this House 1572 would be more ready to avail himself of time and opportunity to do so than myself. But if this money were to be applied as suggested by the second portion of the Amendment, and if it were handed over to the County Councils, there would be absolutely no machinery whatever. In the case of the Welsh Act, Committees were appointed, composed of three representatives of the County Council, and two members nominated by the Lord President of the Council—gentlemen connected with the county selected for their educational standing and position. But, in the present instance, I do not think it would be fair to hand this money to the County Councils without their having that machinery which the Welsh Education Act supplied. It is because there is this want of machinery, that I am unable, without further consideration, to assent to what would be virtually the introduction by a side wind of an Intermediate Education Act for England.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
I am afraid there is some misunderstanding. What is the difference between the machinery for the first part of the Amendment, and the machinery for the second?
§ *(5.45.) SIR W. HART DYKE
The County Council has no machinery, except under the Technical Instruction Act in connection with the Science and Art Department.
§ SIR LYON PLAYFAIR (Leeds,S.)
Mr. Speaker, a short time ago the House appointed a Select Committee upon endowed schools, and I had the honour to be Chairman of that Committee, and my right hon. Friend was a Member of it. He will remember the great difficulty we had in examining how endowed schools could be made of greater use to the public, because these endowed schools had no means of getting properly equipped. They were proceeding very much on the old lines—Latin and Greek and general education, but they had no support for scientific education. Now, I am very grateful to the Government for having adopted the first part of the Amendment, but the second part is also of very great importance, and if my right hon. Friend will only recollect the recommendations as to the endowed schools he must himself admit what important measures might be brought 1573 under this Amendment. In the first place you have taken great trouble to establish endowed schools throughout the country, but you leave them entirely unconnected with any Local Authority, except Local Boards, to manage them, and without any knowledge on the part of this House as to whether they are failures or successes. Now, this Amendment offers you an organisation. The County Council may move the Charity Commissioners, with the funds at their disposal, to equip these schools and make them suitable for scientific instruction. It may enable them to provide funds out of which the teachers of science might be paid, and it might, in this way, re-organise the schools throughout the country, and produce the greatest results upon secondary education throughout the country, in the way of meeting modern requirements for scientific teaching. Without money they cannot do this. They have no funds to equip laboratories and workshops, and it is better to leave science alone if it is to be mere book-learning. Here you have an admirable opportunity for authorising the County Councils to act along with the Charity Commissioners, with a view to satisfying the strong wishes in the country for scientific teaching. There is nothing in this proposal that would prejudice the Government in the future in bringing in a Bill for intermediate education. The Government have gone half way very liberally, and I thank them very much for adopting the first half of the Amendment. But they will confer a benefit on the country if they adopt also the second half. They would enable the Charity Commissioners, with the assistance of the County Councils, to equip those schools, and they would make a large stride towards intermediate education.
§ (5.55.) MR. HERBERT GARDNER (Essex, Saffron Walden)
I am sure all who sit on this side of the House must congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham on the success which has attended his efforts in the direction of education, and especially for having given the right hon. Gentleman, who professes to be the friend of the agriculturist, the opportunity of sweeping away the shame of having given only £5,000 towards agricultural education, while smaller 1574 countries, like Sweden, have been able to devote a much larger sum to that object. I regret that the Government have not found it possible to accept the second part of my hon. Friend's Amendment. It has been said that it is impossible to carry out the idea; but the two right hon. Gentlemen below me, who both have been Vice President of the Council, say that it is quite possible to carry out this scheme. I rise for the purpose of asking my right hon. Friend to leave out the words "not exceeding the moiety of the residue, or any part of that moiety," so that the whole of the residue might be taken for this very desirable object. That course has already been adopted in Wales, where the residue has been practically devoted to technical education. For my part, I do not see why the whole of this sum should not be utilised.
§ *(6.0.) SIR WALTER BARTTELOT (Sussex, N.W.)
I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman has accepted the first part of the Amendment, because I believe that nothing is required more than technical education in this country. We have been lamentably behind many other countries with regard to that. We give a good education in our schools, but at the same time we ought to impart that which will enable the boy to get his living in the future. One word more before I speak of the second portion of the Amendment. I think anyone who knows the country districts well, will recognise the difficulty of getting children living at long distances to attend in all weathers. I must say I was sorry to hear the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield condemn my county, and I think he most unfairly and unjustly overstated the case when he said it was one of the most backward counties in England, and that it was a perfect disgrace.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
Perhaps my hon. Friend will allow me to say that what I said was that in a large portion of the rural districts Standard IV. was the standard of full time, and I complained that, whether in Sussex or elsewhere, it was a discredit.
§ * SIR W. BARTTELOT
I do not want, after what the right hon. Gentleman has said, to go into that matter more fully, but it was said in regard to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Ex- 1575 chequer living in Sussex. We have got so good an education in our rural schools that a large number of the farmers are sending their children to them, because there are scarcely any good intermediate schools. I think it is a discredit that we have not better intermediate schools, and I hope my right hon. Friend will be able to see his way to having intermediate education extended throughout the country.
§ (6.5.) SIR W. HARCOURT (Derby)
I think we ought to acknowledge the manner in which the Government have met the Amendment of my hon. Friend. If the Government do not wish to accept the whole of it, I do not think he could, after the discussion which has taken place, carry the controversy any further. I will show what can be done under the first part of the Amendment. In the Technical Instruction Act, the interpretation clause states that technical instruction shall mean instruction in science and art, applicable to industries, including modern languages, and commercial and agricultural subjects, which may for the time being be sanctioned by the Department. That, really, covers a great part of what we mean by technical education. I hope that intermediate education will not be neglected in the future. I gather, from what the Vice President has said, that was a subject the Government viewed with favour, and were willing at an early period to make provision for. That being so, if my hon. Friend takes my advice he will be content with the acceptance of the first part of this Amendment.
§ * THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH,) Strand, Westminster
The right hon. Gentleman is mistaken. The hon. Member in his Amendment only speaks of one moiety, but I understand he suggests that if the whole moiety is not applied to the first part of his Amendment, then that a portion of it should be applied to the second portion of his Amendment.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
This clause is permissive, and I do not see what is the use of the retention of these words. The County Council would be able to judge whether less or more—probably it would be less—than the moiety was required, and, therefore, I do not see the necessity of introducing these words at all. You can leave absolute freedom to the County 1576 Council to use as much or as little as they please of the moiety. The only disadvantage that we may expect by not taking the second part of the Amendment is, that the County Council may appropriate all the rest of the money in a manner that would exclude intermediate education in the future, when the machinery was created. I hope that may not be so, and that the County Council, especially in boroughs where the larger demand for this kind of school would arise, would keep their hands upon a sufficient sum of money to be used in future when the machinery was devised.
§ MR. A. ACLAND
I beg to withdraw the second part of the Amendment, and I beg to suggest that with regard to the moiety, the second part might be made to read the same as the Welsh Clause.
§ * MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
The Vice President has mentioned the difficulty with regard to the initial expense of instituting technical instruction. His remark was well founded, and suggests a reason for not limiting too strictly the powers of the County Council. It might well be that more than the moiety was spent on these initial expenses, and, therefore, there seems to be ground for letting the County Councils, in some cases, spend more than the moiety.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
I am not indisposed to assent to the omission of the words as to the moiety, as the matter rests entirely with the County Council.
§ MR. COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin)
A little alteration is wanted. If these words were struck out, power would be given to the County Council to contribute only the moiety of the residue. You will have to insert the words "or any part thereof."
§ MR. ROWNTREE (Scarborough)
Any sum going to a borough might impair the authority of that borough, and so cause jealousy because of the interference of the County Council.
§ * THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. RITCHIE,) Tower Hamlets, St. George's
I have an Amendment to add to the present Amendment which will meet that objection.
§ *(6.12.) SIR HENRY ROSCOE (Manchester, S.)
I am anxious to say how gratified I am at the acceptance by the Government of the first part 1577 of my hon. Friend's Amendment. To the great centres of industries, where the work of technical education is already in progress, it will be of great importance. The money will be available in large centres of industry, not only for assisting existing institutions, but for aiding the establishment of new ones. Where the Act is not already in operation the Amendment will be of great benefit by placing money at the disposal of the County Councils, by giving a start to the adoption of the Act. The Committee, which was presided over by the hon. Baronet the Member for the Wells Division, pointed out how important it was that in the rural districts money should be available for this purpose. We all know that farmers are inclined to complain, but it is a new thing that they should attribute a great deal of what may be called their misfortune to their having had no technical education. Therefore, both in large industrial centres and in agricultural districts, we may look forward to the money now to be applied being productive of a great deal of good. I regret, with most Members interested in education, that the second part of the Amendment has not been accepted by the Government, although I agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby that really the scope of the technical instruction which can be given under the Act includes a great deal of what is classified as intermediate education. In the City of London the subject, which has not yet come under the County Council, is one of vast importance, and we may hope that my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of London, who is Chairman of the County Council, and who takes a deep interest in all educational matters, will see that this great Metropolis takes advantage of the Act, as our great provincial industrial centres certainly will.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment proposed, in page 1, at end of Clause, add—
The Council of any such county or county borough may contribute any sum received by such council in respect of the residue under this section, or any part of that sum, for the purposes of technical (including agricultural and commercial) education within the meaning of the Technical Instruction Act, 1889, and may make that contribution over and above
any sum that may be raised by rate under that Act."—(Mr. Arthur Acland.)
§ Question, "That those words be there added," put, and agreed to.
§ *(6.17.) MR. RITCHIE
I understand that hon. Gentlemen who represent boroughs in counties are very anxious that power should be conferred upon the County Council to pay any money which they may contribute towards technical education to the governing authority of a town or urban district instead of to the schools in those areas. Therefore, I propose—That the County Council may make any such contribution by giving the amount thereof to any Council or Urban Sanitary Authority in their county for the purpose of the same being applied by such Council or Authority under the Technical Instruction Act, 1889, over and above any sum raised by rate by such Council or Authority.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ MR. COURTNEY
I think those words would only enable the County Council to make one contribution to one authority.
§ MR. SAMUELSON (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
I was going to point out that the words appear to mean that the contribution shall be made only where a rate has been raised.
§ * MR. RITCHIE
I think it will meet the objection of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Courtney) if I insert the words "the amount, or any part of the amount."
§ MR. SAMUELSON
The point I put was that the contribution might be regarded as necessarily one in aid.
§ * MR. RITCHIE
I do not think that would be so. This is "over and above" the amount raised by rate. It does not imply that they must raise a rate.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
I confess it seems to me that is so. I do not know whether it is the intention of the Government.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
That is the meaning of the words "may (contribute in addition to the sum which the Council give." You can only give when a sum has been already raised. I am afraid that has been already done under the first part of the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham. I read it that there must be a sum raised 1579 by the rate; and, unless something had been raised by the rate, there could be nothing "over and above" that.
§ MR. F. S. POWELL (Wigan)
It is important that it should not be made to depend on the raising of a rate. I know-some places where the Local Authorities would be extremely slow to levy a rate, perhaps not for many years, and I hope the County Council will be enabled to make the grant without that condition.
§ * MR. RITCHIE
I hope the House will allow the Amendment to be put in this form—The County Council may make any such contribution by giving such amount or any part of that amount to any Council or Urban Sanitary Authority in that county for the purpose of the sum being applied by such Council or Authority under the Technical Instruction Act, 1889, over and above any sum which can be raised by rate by such Council or Authority.
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ MR. COURTNEY
I am afraid that my objection still applies to the first part, that as the words now run they confine the contribution to one contribution.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 20, at end, add—
The Council for any county to which the Welsh Immediate Education Act, 1889, applies may contribute any sum received by such Council under this section in respect of the said residue or any part of that sum towards inter media'e and technical education under that Act, in addition to the amount which the Council can under that Act contribute for such education."—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.]
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. S. T. EVANS (Glamorgan, Mid)
As already has been said by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Intermediate Education Act has worked exceedingly well in Wales, though in the poorer districts difficulty has been experienced in obtaining the necessary funds. That difficulty will now be got over now this money is to be provided. But I would point out to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in connection with the Beer and Spirit Duty, that Wales does not get her fair 1580 proportion. The population of England is 27,000,000, and of Wales and Monmouth 1,700,000. The sum which England gets is £709,000, and Wales £34,000—or England gets 6¼d. and Wales 4¾d.—a very considerable difference, considering the smallness of the sum. Wales really ought to get £44,000.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
(6.23.) MR. CAMPBELL-BANNER-MAN (Stirling, &c.)
Mr. Speaker, I cannot help expressing a sanguine hope and expectation that the Government, having treated in so conciliatory a spirit the claims of England and Wales, will now proceed to regard our claims in the same favourable light. We have to bear in mind the very extraordinary indications of Scotch political and parliamentary feeling which the divisions taken in Committee disclosed. On two main propositions in opposition to the scheme of the Government we find, in one case, the Amendment supported by 42 to 14 of Scotch Members, and in the other by 44 to 11. We can hardly, therefore, he supposed unduly obstinate or persistent if we take this opportunity of inviting the House and the Government to reconsider the situation. The hon. Member for Roxburghshire scouted the idea that the vote of the majority of Scotch Members ought to be regarded, and I am not saying for one moment that Irish and English Members ought to bow to that majority. That would be simply absurd, but I do think that some deference ought to be paid to such a remarkable expression of opinion. Now, the Amendment which I am going to move places the issue between us in a very straight way. On the one hand it is relief of the rates, and on the other free education. I will content myself by saying, in regard to the relief of the rates, that there are four objections to which that disposition of this money is open. In the first place, the money will be handed over to the authorities as a vague kind of subsidy with no guarantee for its economical administration. Then, the relief of rates has not been asked for by the people of Scotland. My hon. Friend brought forward again the other day his old friend the blacksmith, and he said that the abolition of fees in primary schools would be a good thing 1581 in large towns, but was there nothing to be done for the relief of small ratepayers? What I would point out to my hon. Friend is this, that he greatly exaggerates the benefit to be conferred on the blacksmiths. My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen showed that the money to be given, if divided, would only be 3d. in the year in the greater part of the constituencies, and 6d. in others, and the amount of money given in the counties would be larger than in the boroughs. But I suppose the blacksmith is subject to the ordinary incidents of human life, and that he has his share of children, and in that respect there is no comparison between the benefit conferred by the proposal of the Government and the one I support by my Amendment. My last objection to the propesal is that the great bulk of the money will go in all probability to the owners of the soil, and not to the occupiers. We must recognise the undoubted feeling of the Scotch people in favour of education. They are not possessed, as some others are, with any dread of over-education. They are not afraid of the children of the humbler classes being educated, as it is called, above their station. That, I believe, is at the bottom of a great deal of the resistance to the policy of free education which exists in England. But there is no trace of any such feeling among the great body of the Scotch people. We claim that primary education shall be free all along the line. The Chancellor of the Exchequer with some plausibility taunted us with lack of faith in the love of our countrymen for education. He says it is a poor compliment to pay them to say they will be deterred by the imposition of a fee from having their children educated in the higher standards. If it is said that the Scotch people, since they value education so highly, will not be deterred from continuing their children at school by the imposition of a fee, I reply that that is no argument for adding to the temptation by imposing a fee. We ought, I say, to encourage the idea that the same moral obligation rests upon the parent to send his children to school in the voluntary as in the compulsory standards. The latter standards represent merely the minimum of education which is regarded 1582 as necessary in the interests of society. But the best answer to that argument is to be found in the Report of the Scotch Education Department for this year, which complains of the very evil which the Scotch Members wish to remedy, namely, that the attendance becomes irregular the moment the voluntary or higher standards are reached. In 1888 there were 61,612 scholars in Standard V., but in 1889 there were only 28,939 in the higher standards. Now, the Scotch Members wish to remove the discouragement to parents against keeping their children at school when they reach the higher standards, by getting rid of the fees now charged. I have in my hand a letter received by my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwickshire, which puts our case very clearly. The writer, Mr. W. Alexander, headmaster of Leith Walk Public School, the largest Board school in Edinburgh, says that, during the past two years, the average attendance in that school has been 1,472, and the grants earned £1,543 in one year and £1,545 in the other. He continues—The Board do not pay us on result, but give all the teachers a fixed salary. I mention this to show that there is no self-interest in our wishing to have the upper standards made free. In my school I have 120 pupils in Standard V., and 80 in Examination 6. My experience this year has been that these standards have melted away, and will continue to disintegrate, in the course of the year, much more than in former years, and solely because no sooner do the children pass out of Standard V. than a fee is charged. Freeing the compulsory standards, a good thing in itself, has, indirectly, done harm. It has created in the minds of most parents the idea that their children have got a complete education in those standards, whereas they have only got the barest necessaries of the elements of education. The Sixth Standard and Examination 6 are the crowning of the whole. The freeing of the compulsory standards has created a gap which did not exist before, but which the freeing of the voluntary standards would have filled up and restored to the former statu quo. The people are greatly governed by habit, and in money matters more than in most things, and this habit of paying nothing until the Sixth Standard is reached has made them indifferent to keeping the child any longer at school. The argument that the Scotch people have always valued education so much that they are willing to pay for it, is not to the point here. The conditions have been altered, and with the new condition of things', new habits are formed. Will it not be possible, even yet, to carry this proposal on Report? This is the critical year. If the Government can be got to yield, the tendency to withdraw scholars from the higher standards will be 1583 checked in time, but if it goes on the difficulty will be all the greater when the concession is made afterwards.This letter leaves nothing more to be said on the subject; it gives the views of a man thoroughly conversant with the practical working of the educational system. There is still another point in which this sudden interposition of a fee works harm. Under an Act passed in 1883, no child under 13 years of age can be employed in a factory or workshop. Now, there is scarcely any half time employment in Scotland, so what occurs? Take, first, the case of a clever boy. By the time he is 10 years of age, he passes the Fifth Standard, and from that until he is 13 years old ho cannot go to work, so he must either remain idle or his father must pay the fees in the higher standards. But the stupid boy who can never get beyond the Fifth Standard can remain at the school free of expense until he is 13 years old. Surely this is an inducement upon parents to keep back the education of their children. The interposition of a fee just when the child is beginning to derive the greatest benefit from education has a most evil effect from an educational point of view. The remission of the fee would, at the same time, give a large pecuniary relief to the great body of hardly-pressed working people; and on these grounds I hope it is not too late to hope that the Government will re-consider the matter. They must know that the great majority of the Scotch people are in favour of what we are asking.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 1, to leave out the words "a sum not exceeding 40,"and insert the words" the sum of 90."(Mr. Campbell-Bannerman.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words 'a sum not exceeding 40' stand part of the Bill."
§ *(6.45.) MR. BARCLAY (Forfarshire)
I took but little part in the discussion when the education question was being debated in Committee, because I thought the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Advocate had very fully answered the objections made to the Government proposals on this side of the House. But now, Sir, that the question has been again raised, I crave the indulgence of the House while I endeavour to state as 1584 briefly as possible the reasons why I prefer the Government proposal and why I cannot support the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stirling Burghs. We have heard very frequently in this Debate that the people of Scotland are very much in favour of education. I entirely agree with that sentiment. We are also told that they are very much in favour, not only of freeing compulsory education, but that they think the burden of education, instead of devolving to some extent on the parents as hitherto, should be entirely paid for out of taxation, either local or Imperial. Some Members have gone so far as to say that the people of Scotland are hostile to the idea of fees being paid by wealthy parents able and willing to pay. I do not profess to speak for the people of Scotland, but I may be allowed to indicate my views on the state of public opinion in that country. I have not seen in the public prints reports of meetings and discussions such as justify the statements of some hon. Members as to what public opinion there is. I think the people of Scotland are prepared to accept the principle that the fees for education in the compulsory standards should be paid out of taxation, but I do not think they are prepared to accept without further discussion and consideration the principle that the fees in the High Schools of Scotland and in the Universities should also be paid out of taxation, either local or Imperial. That is the view which I understood the Member for Stirling Burghs enunciated.
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
I never said anything of the kind, nor did I say anything that could bear that interpretation.
§ * MR. BARCLAY
I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that he and his Party were in favour of the widest diffusion of knowledge at the expense of the rates.
§ * MR. BARCLAY
Then the right hon. Gentleman was merely stating a platitude which hon. Members on both sides of the House are prepared to support. All the Members for Scotland are in favour of the widest diffusion of knowledge. The question which is at issue is whether that knowledge is to be paid for by the 1585 parents of the children, or whether it is to be paid for out of taxation, either local or Imperial. If the right hon. Gentleman will say he did not mean that it should be paid for out of taxation, I do not think there is any difference between us on the point.
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
I said nothing as to the payment out of the public money of fees, or of any other expenses in Universities, or in the case of middle-class education. I was dealing only with the fees for primary education, and I referred in my speech to the extraordinary zeal always shown by the Scotch people for the widest diffusion of knowledge, as showing that they would have no jealousy of the extension of primary education to any length we chose to go.
§ * MR. BARCLAY
Now, there are 21 schools in my county giving primary education to the fullest extent without payment of fees, and with the additional grant proposed to be handed over, I fully believe that the whole of the schools in that county will be able to give free education. I will now deal with the proposal of the Government. During last Session a sum of £250,000 was voted for the reduction of school fees in Scotland, the method of distribution being left to be decided by the Scotch Education Department. That Department came to the conclusion that the money should be divided by means of a uniform Capitation Grant on the average school attendance. I do not see how it could have been proceeded with on different lines without inflicting great injustice on many districts. My hon. Friend the Member for North Aberdeen, who has devoted so much valuable attention to this question, asserts that the high fees which are charged in some districts are due to the action of the School Boards in saving the rates; and that those bodies, instead of levying a fair amount of rates upon the ratepayers, have chosen to exact very high school fees, and thus saved the rates. I believe the mode of distribution adopted by the Department was universally approved in Scotland and by this House. What is the new proposal the Government is 1586 now making? They find that the sum of £283,000 would, taking Scotland as a whole, pay the fees in all the compulsory standards. That is about £40,000 beyond what was previously voted, and they now propose to make this further grant of £40,000 to provide for the payment of fees in the compulsory standards. They have also undertaken to lay on the Table of the House a Minute of the Scotch Education Department providing that the money shall be distributed in the same way as the previous grant. What will be the result? In my own constituency I find that in the School Board schools there are 21 schools in which no fees whatever are charged. Our portion of the additional grant of £40,000 will be sufficient to increase the Capitation Grant to about 11s. per head, and that sum I believe will be adaquate to abolish school fees in all the schools. Therefore, we have no more to ask to have free education in Forfarshire. In addition to that, my constituency will now receive a share of the £50,000 which is to be applied in reduction of the rates. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Stirling Burghs that the people of Scotland are very tolerant of taxation, that they are willing to pay when they see there is good reason for the payment, and that the money is economically and judiciously expended. But it has always been the characteristic of the people of Scotland that they have strong ideas of economy. I cannot believe that they have now lost those ideas, and that they will not avail themselves with satisfaction of this assistance which it is proposed to give in aid of local taxation. Turning now to the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Stirling Burghs, my right hon. Friend has referred to the Education Statistics, and has found that the total amount paid in school fees in Scotland is between£330,000 and £340,000. He says that if the Government, instead of giving the £50,000 in relief of local taxation, will hand it over for educational purposes it will be ample to give free education to Scotland, and to abolish fees altogether. But if the right hon. Gentleman is going to abolish school fees with this sum he must do it on a different principle from that which has been adopted in the distribution of money by the Education Department. 1587 He cannot abolish school fees and distribute this money in the form of a uniform Capitation Grant. He must distribute it amongst the School Boards in proportion to the fees previously exacted. The sum at his disposition would be equal to an average Capitation Grant of 13s. But 13s. would not suffice to pay the high fees exacted in some places, such as in Glasgow, for example, where they amount to 17s. 6d. or 18s. per head. The right hon. Gentleman would have to reverse the policy of the Education Department, or the sum he would want to entirely abolish fees would amount to £450,000, instead of £340,000. He has to level up School Boards from almost nothing per scholar to 18s. He must distribute a sum of money equal to this to poor schools, before he can abolish school fees in Scotland on the principle adopted by the Education Department. In my own constituency there are 21 schools which are already without any fees, and I fully expect the additional £40,000 now voted will raise the Capitation Grant to 11s., and will enable the whole of the fees in my constituency to be abolished. But, according to the right hon. Gentleman, my constituency would receive no further amount of money; it would all go to the large constituencies, such as Glasgow and Edinburgh. The problem to solve is, how the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) is going to abolish school fees throughout Scotland with this money, on the principle which has been adopted by the Education Department. I know, in my own constituency, the result would be we should get no portion of this £50,000, but it would be devoted to other parts of Scotland, in order that high school fees might be abolished. So far as my own constituency is concerned, it would deprive them of any share of this £50,000, giving it to Glasgow and Edinburgh. For these reasons I do submit that any proposal, to divide the money according to fees exacted by School Boards, which is the only way it appears to me the right hon. Gentleman can carry out his object of abolishing school fees, would be a great injustice to those parts of the country which have levied high rates and kept down fees. These are some of the reasons which induce me to prefer the proposal of the Government. My constituents, under this proposal, will have 1588 full payment of school fees, and they will have, in addition, a share in the reduction of local rates out of this £50,000. If the right hon. Gentleman can continue these benefits, and, at the same time, abolish payment of fees in Glasgow and Edinburgh, I have no objection. I shall have much pleasure in supporting the proposal of the Government.
§ (7.8.) The House divided:—Ayes 149; Noes 129.—(Div. List, No. 218.)
§ *(7.15.) MR. C. S. PARKER (Perth)
Certainly, the last Division shows that the House is not unfavourably inclined to the views of Scotch Members, and I cannot help hoping that even yet, at the last moment, the Government will not persist in the disastrous course of treating Scotland in a way altogether different from the other parts of the United Kingdom, paying no regard to the advice of her Representatives as regards the application of her share of the funds. The Government have, I think, given Scotch Members some reason to complain that after the careful speech, no one can say it was a Party speech, in which my right hon. Friend went into the educational part of the question, the Government sat in silence and allowed a Division to be taken. My right hon. Friend dealt ably with practical details, quoting opinions of experts, and I do think, under the circumstances, for the Front Bench to treat his arguments with absolute silence and contempt is—well, a course of conduct it is not easy properly to describe. I shall detain the House but a few minutes with the Amendment I now have to propose. It is perfectly simple, and I wish the House to understand how the case lies. Last year we voted £240,000 for application in Scotland to the reduction of fees, and there was a difference in two respects from the arrangement of this year; one was that School Boards were left in the position of being residuary legatees instead of being left a definite sum. The other difference is, there was no attempt made, in either the Act of Parliament or the Minute of the Education Department, which applied that Act, to run counter to the feeling in Scotland by drawing a mischievous distinction between compulsory standards and voluntary standards in the same school. It is not much to ask that we should have our 1589 £40,000 not clogged with a condition which we say, on educational grounds, is mischievous in Scotland. I hope the House will agree to omit the words, and leave the money in the same position as the money voted last year. It is the less concession because, upon the Lord Advocate's own showing, there are only 98 schools in all Scotland where the compulsory standards are not now free. Therefore, there is this sum of £40,000 going to Scotland, and going to be distributed, as it was last year, throughout all the districts, including 3,000 schools, in which compulsory standard fees no longer exist. And yet we are to say it is only fur the compulsory standards. It is most illusory that an Act of Parliament should be passed for devoting £40,000 to the compulsory standard fees, and yet we are told there are only 98 schools where the abolition has not been carried out. If the money were to go to these 98 schools, it would be an extravagant grant of £400 or more to each. But that is not what is proposed, the distribution is to be made in proportion to average attendance. For instance, in For far, to which the last speaker has referred, the effect will simply be that the money will go to the schools according to the number of children, and be applied as the managers think fit in improving the educational arrangements, in raising the masters' salaries, or in reducing the school rate. We are told, indeed, that these words are, in fact, inoperative. With these words in, or leaving them out, we are told, on the high authority of the legal adviser of the Government for Scotland, it will be perfectly competent and legal for a School Board to take their full share nominally for the compulsory standards, and so pass on the money they derive from the Probate Duty and from the rates to relieve the voluntary standards. Therefore, it is not a question of substance; it is a question of form, but it is misleading to the people of Scotland to put such words into the Bill, and it is the more vexatious as there are no such words in the Act of last year. I hope the Government will have the grace to make this small concession to us.
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ (7.23.) SIR W. HARCOURT
I rise, not to argue this question, because the Government are not here to argue the question at all. During all the time that I have been in Parliament I have never seen a piece of more unexampled insolence. ["Order, order!"] unexampled insolence—
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
I rise to order, Sir. I ask you, Sir, whether the right hon. Gentleman is entitled to use that term in this House?
§ * MR. SPEAKER
Insolence is a word which I do not think should be employed. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not insist on the use of the word.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
It is quite enough for me, Sir, that you should suggest that I should not use that word, but I will say that a method of more unexampled contempt exhibited towards opponents I have never known in Parliament. There was a speech made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Stirling Burghs which deserved an answer. It was a speech of a conciliatory character; it was following up a conciliatory Debate upon the English and Welsh Clauses; it was an appeal to the Government to act in the same spirit towards Scotland as towards England and Wales, and the Government stood by and treated it with contempt. Yes, and that spirit of contempt is approved. We are quite ready to take it up, but do not you talk to us of obstruction, when that is the spirit in which the Government act! Have we been obstructing your business to-day? Have we not been assisting you to come to an honourable and favourable settlement with the people of England and Wales? And this is the manner in which you meet us! It is a spirit of contempt to this House, as well as to your opponents. It is a spirit of contempt exhibited towards the majority of the people of Scotland, and you were punished as you deserved to be punished by the fact that in the Division you could not command one quarter of your normal majority. If that is the manner in which you choose to treat a matter of this description, all I can say is that you will be encountered by 1591 a vehement and obstinate resistance; and a Government which chooses to handle the House of Commons in that way deserves any amount of opposition that we can offer to it.
*(7.27.) MR. W. H.SMITH
Sir, I think the House has never listened to a more extraordinary performance than that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, and he has at times indulged in extraordinary language in this House. He has charged us with having treated the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Stirling Burghs with contempt.
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
No; if the right hon. Gentleman had made any complaint he would not certainly have indulged in such language.
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
The right hon. Gentleman imputes things to me. I make no complaint personally as to the way in which I was treated myself, but I join completely and heartily with my right hon. Friend.
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
It is not in accordance with the right hon. Gentleman's usual courteous habit in this House to associate himself with such language as the right hon. Gentleman has seen fit to employ. Now, Sir, what are the facts of the case? We listened attentively to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. It was a temperate and a moderate speech. It conveyed a large amount of information to the House, and it was treated with respect on this side of the House. The hon. Member for Forfarshire got up and made a reasoned answer to that speech. I will not say that if there had not been cries of "Divide" from the Opposition side of the House, it would not have been reasonable for the Government to give an answer to the right hon. Gentleman's speech. But the House must remember that for three days we have been discussing these questions in Committee. We have answered speech for speech with the greatest respect for hon. Gentlemen, and especially the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby himself. He cannot say that he and the Scotch Members, and the arguments advanced by them, have not been treated with respect. It is true that we have not yielded to them, because we did not think it right to do so; but now we 1592 are charged with contempt, simply because at the last, when we had reason to believe that there was a strong desire on the part of the House to go to a Division, we do not repeat the arguments and statements of fact which we advanced during three nights in the Committee. If that is contempt, all I can say is, that I express the greatest regret for being guilty of it. I thought to save the time of the House, and I certainly desired to be respectful to the House; and I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman, when he returns to a cool state of mind, will feel that an exhibition such as we have had this afternoon is not calculated to raise the reputation of the House of Commons or insure for him a happier course in the responsible position which he holds on that Bench.
§ (7.30.) SIR G. TREVELYAN (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down does not, I think, see the real gravity of the situation which so affects hon. Members on this side of the House. The right hon. Gentleman has not followed the Debate quite closely enough or he would have seen that my right hon. Friend the Member for the Stirling Burghs (Mr. Camp-bell-Bannerman) brought forward new matter of the very gravest importance. The most important point of all these Debates has been this: whether or not by making the compulsory standards free, and leaving the voluntary standards still to pay, you will not afford an excuse to parents to withdraw their children when they come to that point in their education where real education begins—when they have passed through the compulsory standards. The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied that there is no such danger, and that confidence ought to be placed in the Scotch parents, amongst whom there is such a feeling in favour of education that they are quite sure not to withdraw their children on account of the fees. Since the former discussions two things have happened. The Government have themselves published a Report which states that since the fees have been abolished in the lower standards children have been sent earlier to school. The deduction from that is necessarily this: that if you retain the fees for the higher standards, the children will be withdrawn earlier from school. But a 1593 uracil more important thing than that has happened, which I hope will be allowed to weigh with the Government even at the eleventh hour. The best new point was the letter which my right hon. Friend read from a schoolmaster in one of the greatest schools in Edinburgh, one of the most eminent practical educationalists in Scotland. That great authority earnestly entreats Parliament and the Government to change their policy, because already the most fatal effects are occurring from the withdrawal of children from the higher standards, and because ho is satisfied that, if the matter is not mended within the next year, the very gravest results will occur to Scotch education. That is the gist of the whole question we have been discussing for the last three nights. The Scottish people understand the matter thoroughly. They understand it far better than the hon. Gentlemen who come in to vote when the Division bell rings, but who were not sitting in the House during my right hon. Friend's speech. During that speech the Benches opposite were almost empty, and I am quite certain that unless that letter in which our whole case is stated is answered the result will give as much dissatisfaction to the people of Scotland as it will be fatal and ruinous to all that is characteristic in Scottish education.
§ (7.35.) MR. SINCLAIR (Falkirk, &c.)
I am one of those who found it my duty to go against the Government in the last Division; but though that is the case, I must say that in the Lobby I heard distinct statements that it was the desire of those opposed to the Government on the Opposition side of the House to have an early Division, and I think that entirely corroborates the statement of the leader of the House that it was courtesy to those who opposed the Government to at once—
§ * MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! I am bound to say that the particular Amendment before the House is being lost sight of, and I hope the hon. Gentleman will not pursue the subject further. A particular statement has been made and answered, and I think the House ought now to pursue the particular matter of the Amendment.
§ MR. SINCLAIR
I will do so, Sir. I think the answer to the Member for Bridgeton is this: It is in the know- 1594 ledge of the House that the whole question of education in relation to Scotland will have to be re-considered by the Government. When that takes place, the amount now devoted to Scottish-education will be necessarily released from its present particular allotment, and then we may fairly claim that the Government will Fee that the desire of the people of Scotland to have all the standards free shall be given effect to.
§ *(7.40.) THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR SCOTLAND (Mr. M. T. STORMONTH DARLING,) Edinburgh and St. Andrews Universities
The precise Amendment under the consideration of the House is whether the words "in the compulsory standards of the Scotch Code" are to remain or are to be omitted, and that Amendment must be viewed, in my opinion, in connection with the decision the House arrived at a few minutes ago, which was that the sum to be allotted for the purpose in view shall be £40,000. That being so, the only practical question is not whether more can be done for freeing education than is proposed by the Government, but whether the retention of the words "in the compulsory standards of the Scotch Code" can possibly do any harm. It was said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bridgeton Division that an important new fact has arisen in the shape of the Annual Report of the Scottish Education Department, but the right hon. Gentleman can hardly have noticed that the Report deals with the period before free education was introduced in Scotland. It only comes down to September, 1889.
§ SIR GEORGE TREVELYAN
I think the Solicitor General is mistaken. [The right hon. Gentleman handed a copy of the Report across the Table.]
§ * MR. M. T. STORMONTH DARLING
(after examining the extract): It may be that I have made a mistake, and, if so, I am sorry that I have made it; but the statistics in the Report only come down to the date I have mentioned, and therefore nothing is actually known of the working of free education. Accordingly, it is too soon to dogmatise as to the results of that change. But the right hon. Gentleman referred to a letter from an educational authority in Leith. I should have thought, looking at the right hon. Gentleman to whom it was addressed, 1595 that the writer was not altogether un-acquainted with political subjects, and that impression was confirmed by the fact that the writer seemed to be correctly informed as to the rules of Parliamentary procedure, because he refers to the Report stage of this Bill. I have no doubt that the views of the writer of the letter reflect a certain apprehension in the minds of soma teachers that the imposition of fees beyond the compulsory standards may have the effect of discouraging attendance beyond the compulsory standards; but it is too soon to judge of that, and again I would ask the House to come back to the real question—Will the retention of those words do any possible harm to education? Last year a grant of £250,000 was confessedly made for the purpose solely of freeing the compulsory standards; and when the Minute of the Education Department came to be framed, it was framed not on the footing of dictating to the School Boards what they were to do, but of merely making it a condition of the receipt of the money that they should free the first three standards and provide a certain number of free places in the Fourth and Fifth Standards. That is exactly what will be done in the new Minute; that is to say, the new Minute will do nothing more than require as a condition the freeing of the compulsory standards. But the School Boards, who are best able to judge of the matter, are perfectly free to act as they may think fit; if they choose to put the money into their pockets because they do not require it, they may do so. If they choose to improve the facilities and appliances for education, they may do that. If they choose to free more than the compulsory standards, they may do that. All that Parliament says is, that condition of receiving this money they must free the compulsory standards.
§ * MR. M. T. STORMONTH DARLING
The meaning is nothing more than the meaning of last year, when the same or corresponding words were put into the Minute. Therefore, the Member for Perth has failed entirely to show that the retention of the words can have any possible effect in tying the hands of the School Boards. The House may rest assured 1596 that the meaning is that Parliament requires the freeing of the compulsory standards, and does not seek to go further. The reason of that I take to be that free education is as yet in a tentative stage, and that we shall be in a better position in a few years to judge of its operation, and then to decide whether it is desirable to go further.
§ (7.46.) SIR L. PLAYFAIR (Leeds, S.)
I desire to say a few words before the Division is taken, because I think the right hon. Gentleman does not understand the position we take up as to these words. It has been shown that there are only 98 schools which can use this £40,000 to free the compulsory standards. What is to become of the surplus? You say you are going to leave the School Boards free to use the money as they like, but to leave the School Boards to do as they like with the money is utterly inconsistent with the words you are putting into the Act of Parliament. You put into the Act words declaring that the money shall only be used for the compulsory standards, and you confirm that by a Minute of the Education Department. The position in which the Government have put this matter is most ludicrous, and why they do not seek to get it out of such a position I cannot understand. I cannot agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman that these words will do no harm. They will fetter the County Councils. They are inconsistent with the declarations of the Government, and under these circumstances I hope the Government will accept the Amendment, and thus escape from a paradoxical position.
§ (7.48.) MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)
There is still something mysterious about this matter that has not been explained. No one who applies the words of the clause to the existing state of things in Scotland can understand them—everyone who tries to do so gets deeper and deeper in difficulty. This sum is to be applied in relief of fees of children in the compulsory standards of the Scotch Code. Will the House believe the manner in which this £40,000 is to be distributed? There are 2,981 schools in Scotland in which all the compulsory standards are already free, and these schools will absorb more than 1597 £38,000 of the £40,000. The position of the Government is, therefore, absurd, because they profess to give the money to free the compulsory standards, when, with the exception of 98 schools, which cannot absorb £2,000, all the schools in Scotland are already free in the five compulsory standards. But there is this other point. The Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General for Scotland tonight have said in a somewhat airy and indecisive fashion that they know perfectly well that the bulk of these schools in Scotland cannot use the money for this ostensible purpose, but that it can be used to reduce foes in the higher standards or to reduce the rates. But there is another class of schools which share in this grant, namely, the voluntary schools. Under this grant 466 voluntary schools will be entitled to a share of this £40,000, and in round numbers these will absorb £6,000. Each and every one of these voluntary schools has already freed all the five compulsory standards, and, therefore, the money will have to be applied either to the compulsory standards, which are already provided for, or to the higher standards. The whole of the voluntary contributions in Scotland do not exceed £28,000 a year. Under this clause of the Bill it will be in the power of the managers of voluntary schools to take £6,000 and apply it to the reduction of the infinitesimal subscriptions now obtained by these schools. A more monstrous use of public money was never heard of. This £40,000 increases the 10s. grant of last year to 11s. 6d. All that is necessary now is that this grant should be supplemented by a sum that will give 1s. 6d. per annum additional. The Government have debated this question as if it were possible to draw distinctions between standards in the Scotch system. It is absolutely impossible, because the Government have distributed this money on the principle of a capitation grant. Unless the fees for all the standards were uniform it is impossible that the capitation grant could agree with the actual division into standards. Before the last Division we were asked how provision could be made for the abolition of fees in all schools. Why, simply in the manner the Government have already provided. The only difference would be that the grant would be made on con- 1598 dition that the school authority abolished all fees in the schools. I really hope the Government will explain why they find something sacred in 11s. 6d. and something wicked in 13s. It was contended by the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Advocate that the total sum of £283,000 corresponded with the total sum charged in the five lower standards. That must be an entire error. The sum you now place at the disposal of the School Authorities in Scotland is equal to freeing entirely 450,000 of the average attendance, whereas 420,000 represents the attendance in the five standards. Now, why on earth were these words put into this clause? They were not in the clause last year, and they have no relation to the existing state of facts in Scotland. They are put in with the sole purpose of setting the plain meaning of the clause at absolute defiance.
§ (7.54.) DR. CLARK (Caithness)
We have a curious condition of things in some parts of the northern counties. In some parishes of Boss-shire, where there are deer forests and large farms, there is a 2d. rate, and I am afraid the School Board in some of such parishes will require to dine in order to get rid of this, money. I am very sorry the Government are so obstinate on this question. We are only fighting for the old use and wont in Scotland. We want a condition of things in which all the classes of elementary education will be free, as they were before the old system John Knox established was modified in the interests of the landlords. What the Government want to do is to vote a large sum to the landlords by whom the principal rates in all the counties are paid.
§ (7.58.) The House divided:—Ayes 127; Noes 104.—(Div. List, No. 219.)
§ *(8.10.) MR. C. S. PARKER
The next Amendment which stands in my name was intended simply as an alternative in case the Government, instead of giving a definite sum, preferred to give the residue. Having regard to the result of the Division the House has just taken, it is not my intention to press the Amendment.
§ *(8.11.) MR. BRYCE
I rise to move an Amendment which I hope the Government will be able to see their way to accept. We want to have the extinction of fees in elementary schools com- 1599 pleted. That is what we have urgently pressed for, but if we cannot get that I think it is fair that the Government should at least consent to let us do for Scotland what they have agreed to do for England. I propose, therefore, to add words to the end of the clause empowering the Councils of Counties and Burghs and Commissioners of the Police Burghs to make contributions for the purpose of technical education, as already provided in the case of England and Wales. The Amendment I have to propose is exactly the same as that already adopted by the House, mutatis mutandis, and it leaves the making of contributions purely optional with the Local Authority.
Amendment proposed, at the end of Clause 2, to insert the words—
Provided, nevertheless, that the Council of any such county or burgh, and the Commissioners of any such Police Burgh may contribute any sum received by such county or Commissioners, as the case may be, with respect to the said residue or any part of that sum, for the purposes of technical, including agricultural and commercial education, within the meaning of the Technical Schools (Scotland) Act, 1887, and may make that contribution over and above any sum that may be paid out of any school fund under that Act, whether or not any such sum has been paid out of such fund."— (Mr. Bryce.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *(8.13.) MR. W. H. SMITH
The Government have no objection to this Amendment of the Bill, which gives to the Scotch County Councils precisely the same powers which the English County Councils have received. It is possible it may be necessary to amend the precise words; if so, the Amendment can be made in another place.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ (8.14.) THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
The House, or those who were present, will recollect that the other day the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton) suggested certain Amendments with regard to model schools in Ireland. The Amendments were not on the Paper, and, therefore, I had not time to consider them, but I have had time since; and I think his view will be carried out by adopting a certain number of Amendments, chiefly consequential Amendments, the first of which occurs in page 2. line 38. I have 1600 to move to leave out there the words "excluding model schools." If that is not done those Unions in which there are model schools will get less than their fair share of the money. I propose that the money shall be distributed according to the number of scholars. I propose to leave Sub-section A substantially as it is now, though there will be some verbal alterations made. With regard to Subsection B, I propose to move to leave out the words "not being model schools," because those words would practically deprive contributory Unions that come under the Act of 1875 of their fair share of the money. I have other Amendments of a somewhat different character to Sub-section D, which are intended to carry out more completely the view expressed by the hon. Member for West Belfast, and were accepted by the Government the day before yesterday. I beg to move the omission of the words "excluding model schools."
§ Amendment proposed, in page 2, lines 38 and 39, to omit the words"excluding model schools."—(Mr. A. J. Balfour.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ (8.15.) MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
The meaning of the right hon. Gentleman is, no doubt, clear to his own mind, but it is not clear to mine. Of course, the first operation of the clause will be that you must take the whole number of children attending the schools and divide it into the gross amount of the grant in order to obtain the capitation rate. If the children attending the model schools are left out, of course, the Capitation Grant will be higher. Then, with regard to Subsection A, I understand the right hon. Gentleman agrees to leave it substantially as it is [Mr. A. J. BALFOUR: Hear, hear!] and that I take to mean this. But in cases of contributory Unions that come under the Act of 1875 the Board of Guardians are bound to contribute to every school in the Union, model or otherwise [Mr. A. J. BALFOUR: Hear, hear!] as much as will make up the local aid. I confess, in that case, as the principle of the Act is to recoup the Union, it would not be possible to recoup the Union unless the model schools are excluded.
§ (8.17.) MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I will just explain the point. What I meant was this: Take a Union in which there are a thousand children, two hundred of whom attend the model school. You only give this contribution in respect of the number of children who attend the ordinary schools.
§ (8.19.) MR. SEXTON
I understand that the £78,000 is to be divided in respect of the 500,000 children attending ordinary national schools. If we add the model school children the effect will be that the grant for the individual child all over Ireland will be diminished. At any rate the operation will be infinitessimal, and I do not think it worth while to press the point.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 3, line 5, to leave out the word"such."—(Mr. A. J. Balfour)
§ Question, "That the word 'such' stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 3, line 5, to leave out from the word "not," in in line 5, to the word "school," in line 6, inclusive.—(Mr. A. J. Balfour.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ MR. SEXTON
I think it well the right hon. Gentleman should explain by what means he proposes to accomplish the end I suggested by the insertion of these words.
§ (8.20.) MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Perhaps it would be convenient to the House if I read the section as it will stand after the Amendments I suggest. The section will read—In the case of every national school in a Union which is not a contributory Union, shall be paid for the benefit of schools which are not model schools, as an addition to the local contributions to, or in respect of, such schools, within the financial year fixed by the last mentioned rules; andI admit that it does not read very smoothly, but, at the same time, I think it is perfectly clear, and explicitly carries out the views which the hon. Member for Belfast embodied in the Amendments he laid before the House the other day.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Consequentia Amendments made.
§ Bill to be read the third time tomorrow.