§ MR. H. H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education whether his attention has been called to the accounts of the Bath Forum School, Bath, for the school year ending February, 1891, in which a balance of £217 5s. 9d. appears as transferred from the school income to a building account; whether, having regard to Article 90 of the Code, such an application of the accumulated surplus of school income is legal; and whether, seeing that a 1644 similar question was incidentally brought under the notice of the Committee on Public Accounts in 1887, and that the Report of the Committee contains no finding on the matter, he will take the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown as to the propriety of such expenditure under the Code?
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Sir W. HART DYKE,) Kent, Dartford
The transaction to which the right hon. Gentleman refers appears from the accounts and correspondence with the managers not to have been merely a transfer of part of the income on the current account to a separate building account, but an application of a balance in hand to expenditure actually incurred in connection with the alteration of the buildings; and I think he will see that in the result of the investigation of the similar question by the Committee of Public Accounts in 1887 a concurrence of opinion between the Department, the auditors, and the Committee was reached that such an application of a balance was not improper. At any rate, the Committee carefully abstained from reporting against it, and in the absence of any opinion on their part hostile to the position I do not think it necessary to invoke the assistance of the Law Officers, of the Crown.
§ MR. H. H. FOWLER
Am I to understand that the Committee having expressed no opinion, that the Department have no opinion on the general question? Does this not conflict with the article in the Code?
§ SIR W. HART DYKE
The evidence given for the Department by Mr. Cumin before the Public Accounts Committee shows how the matter stands. Mr. Cumin says (Question 808)—When you first get money, of course it is to be used for the maintenance; but supposing that it becomes a balance, then it is excluded from the income for the year, and it is excluded from the money that you can reckon for the grant. It becomes in fact a capital sum which is under a trust, and the trust is, that it is to be used for purposes of the school, and we say that when it becomes a balance, and when it is excluded from purposes of the grant, then it is properly used for the purpose of building a school, or for the enlarging of a school, or for any other school purposes.1645 (Q. 813.) Auditor General answers—He concurs with the understanding that the balance is not to be considered as part of the income.
§ MR. H. H. FOWLER
The balance is not considered part of the income of the school for next year so as to enable the 17s. 6d. limit to be exceeded?