HC Deb 15 September 1893 vol 17 cc1274-6
MR. BENSON (Oxfordshire, Woodstock

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether, in the event of any failure on the part of County Councils to make use of their powers under "The Local Taxation (Customs and Excise Act, 1890," for the furtherance of technical instruction, the Government will consider the question whether the whole fund dealt with by that Act should continue to be distributed among County Councils as at present, or whether some alteration of the law is not required; and whether, in considering this question, the Government will have regard to the fact that the assignment of this fund to Local Authorities was not proposed to Parliament as a measure of relief to local rates out of general taxation, but for the furtherance of a purpose of public utility for which Local Authorities would not otherwise have had funds available?


Under the Local Taxation Act, 1890, the County Councils and the Town Councils of county boroughs were empowered to apply the additional subventions received by them under that Act to purposes of technical and intermediate instruction; but no legal obligation was then imposed on the Councils so to apply these moneys. I am glad to say that a very large proportion of the Councils have complied with what may be fairly called the intention of Parliament in making these additional grants. I find that of 62 counties in England and Wales 54 applied the whole of the additional grant to technical and intermediate instruction, and in the remaining eight counties a portion of the grant was so applied. With regard to the 64 county boroughs, 50 have so applied the whole and 10 a part of the amount. In one no decision had been arrived at by the Town Council, and with respect to the remaining three it is stated that, although Returns have not been received, it is believed that the whole amount has been appropriated in this manner. A recent Return has been laid on the Table giving the details of the manner in which the Councils have devoted these funds for the purposes of science, art, technical, and manual instruction. I hope that it will not be necessary to propose any legislation in order to insure the application of these grants to technical education.

MR. LODER (Brighton)

Can the right hon. Gentleman inform the House whether the London County Council have distributed a portion or the whole of the funds allotted to them for the purpose of technical education?


I believe that they have, but I should not like to say definitely without inquiring. I will tell the hon. Gentleman to-morrow.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in many instances the instruction is of an absurdly elementary character, such as teaching the girls to grate nutmegs?


The Local Government Board have no power to interfere with the County Council in such matters.